Flying lessons are an integral part of our passionate sport as I was reminded off last Tuesday. Completely my own fault. His nemesis are white boards, or actually anything out of the ordinary. Like moving mounting blocks, a cavaletti and a normal jump in one, 2 boards of different colours in the same jump as well as a cavaletti hiding just behind it. He can be a bit autistic. But this creates some tension with me as well which results in me forgetting to actually ride the horse. In this line the first jump had a cavaletti integrated in the jump and the second, you guessed it, a white board. When we jumped it from the other side, he stopped the first try since I was wavering (will he go or not), which meant a hell no from him. In addition, we clipped him last weekend to get rid of his second teddy bear coat, he is in great shape and happy as can be, and the weather has turned, resulting in a very hot horse. In my previous blogs I already mentioned me not being a natural jumping talent. After he breaks out, I am sharp, focussed and remember to ride again, and we clear it the second time since I am giving the correct aids. So why not do that the first time you might wonder. I wonder myself as well. Glitch in my brain, uncertainty, so many reasons.
So, I was assuming, the other way he will jump, we already did it. Couldn’t be more wrong, even though I know the brain halves of horses work separately. I forget to sit and collect him immediately after the first jump (big one with the integrated cavaletti), only 2 strides in between. I forgot to give him the needed confidence that we can clear that oxer with white board without dying in the process. So, he goes left, I spend some moment suspended on my right stirrup with my left leg in the air, but the damage was already done. Had I glued myself back to the saddle again after the first jump I probably would have remained seated like the first couple of times he broke out.
Horses never do things on purpose or to nag us. Often, we are the ones doing something wrong. Not giving the correct instructions. In my case there is too much tension or doubt, while if I support him in the right way, sit on my butt, keep my legs on, lock him in the middle of the jump, think about the fact we are going to jump it (often with voice help), he will do it. How I will leave out of this blog (not straight, with several dozen of cm to spare, overly big), but we go over. If I feel he will break out, I need to sit and correct in time. Be confident. A very hard thing for someone who gets cold feet when looking at certain jumps.
The result? A heavily bruised left leg, still walking like a duck. Will probably bother me for another couple of weeks, but if we can endure the side effects I had from chemo, we can survive this as well. I naturally got back on again, dropped the back bar of the oxer to create an upright again, and, you probably guessed, we jumped it as if it was nothing. Jumped the line a couple of times, added the back bar again to turn it into an oxer again, no problem ones again. Reason me riding every single jump again. Keeping him straight is something I find very hard, especially when he is this big bundle of energy. He is adorable and loves to cuddle, but he not an easy horse. Not that a horse that does his thing every single time as a good boy would fit my personality. It is the part of what I love about riding. Lesson for me? He reminded me to keep riding every single jump, also in the lines with multiple jumps. No assumptions, no ‘oh no problem, he will do this one’. Have all the conditions for a good jump in order. And those flying lessons? This most definitely will not have been my last.
Don’t forget to order in time in case you want to gift the journal to someone. Then they can keep track of their crazy antics as well ;)
(The image captions were from a similar incident last year.. So yes, I have made this mistake more than once. When am I going to learn..)