Monday, March 8, 2010

One, two, three, four - JUMP!

Jumping lesson for today. I trailered Traveler and my daughter's horse over to the neighboring arena and jump course for a lesson today. We counted (or we were supposed to count) strides before the jump. I have a really good grasp of three strides, but not four. Traveler did well. He definitely is responding to the warmer, spring-like weather and I had forgotten how much more work is required of me to ride a stallion. I have gotten lazy during the summer and fall.

He is fine if he is focused and working on a task. If we are just standing around and waiting for our turn to jump, he starts eyeing the girls and I can tell his attention is not on me and then he chortles, very lowly, under his breath. I know from experience that I have to immediately squash any stud-like behavior when we are working - so I have to discipline him and then keep him busy doing "work". I would much rather have a break too. At the end of the lesson he was too tired to care about anything so we could both have a break.

I ride with at least three different instructors and I enjoy learning from them all. They all have a different take on riding styles and tell you to correct various aspects of your technique. Today, I was instructed to get into two-point position 3 strides before the jump, hang on and let the horse do the work. Traveler is a good jumper, he wants to do it and I just have to get off his face and let him go to work.

The saying for today's lesson was "There's no shame in grabbing mane". Thankfully, Traveler has lots of it to grab. Today we jumped higher and farther than I ever have and he didn't even flinch. He is so powerful, it's like taking a locomotive over a jump. I was so proud of him. At the end of the lesson I was trembling, I don't know if it was from the whole excitement / nerves of galloping Traveler around a course and taking that last jump which just seemed huge or from exhaustion. Once again, I can barely move.

After the lesson we put all the kids on their ponies and they "jumped". My daughter Luna rode Comet, her new horse. Traveler got his dream and we just acquired a miniature horse. Luna is 4 yrs old this year and eager to do whatever everyone else is doing. After her first jump, she looked at me and said, "well, he took that one pretty well." I'll post a couple of pictures of them on my personal blog so I don't go off topic. But if they aren't the funniest thing I've ever seen, I don't know what is.

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