Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Dressage/Jumping Lesson...

On Wednesday I had a lesson with Allison. I felt like it was a good lesson, we really worked on getting Jackson on the bit and the impulsion from behind. We achieved this perhaps 1/2 of the time, I'd say. I love having lessons. It is so great to get the advice and hear if you are doing something correctly, or if you are just a sack of potatoes riding in circles making no progress.... At times I do get frustrated though! Allison is tough! But she does manage to get the best out of my riding, as rusty as it may be after our SOGGY, cold winter here in South Texas. South. Right. After we worked for at least 45 minutes on dressage, Allison had us work on ground poles, and she found no faults with my position or my handling of Jackson. The new jumps were (kind of) set up, as we only have it up to 12 inches until we get a new drill bit to move the jump cups around. The other day I had taken Jackson over that tiny 12" jump, and he kept bonking the poles. I was anxious to see if Allison had advice on this, because frankly, my fear was that he didn't have the interest or ability to jump anything higher! (OK...the mind does tend to go to extremes, because he has easily taken a 2 foot jump with nary a bump!) But I was concerned. Why was he dragging his feet on this tiny NOTHING of a jump? He does fabulous on cavaletti or a set of 4 ground poles, so what???? After he did the EXACT same thing with Allison I looked to her for advice. And she gave it! "My dear," she drolls. "He is simply SCOFFING at this jump. He is quite bored and wonders why you are insulting him with a mere 12 inches." "We need to start at 2'6 to get any sort of REAL jump practice going for him." Well hog my hooter, as they say! I broke out into a grin accompanied by a huge sigh of relief. She also went on to tell me that this actually shows a great potential for his jumping ability. He isn't doing any more than he has to over what he consider a jump that is BORRRING, but were he overjumping it she would suggest another career for him. Apparently, if a horse jumps three feet over a 12 inch jump you have an over-excitable horse with no mind for jumping. At 80 years old and having extensive eventing and training of horses under her belt, I believe her! Of course, I am sure there are exceptions and I hope I am not offending anyone, because this is certainly not true for every horse, I'm sure! She has promised to ride Jackson during my next lesson, and I look forward to see how he goes for her. Perfectly, I have no doubt. I hope I am riding horses when I'm 80! I did ask Allison if I should send him out to a trainer for training. The answer was an emphatic "NO!" She told me that if I put the work into him, I will get the results without a trainer. According to her, he has my number, so even if a trainer could get him going totally correctly, when I got him back, I would have the same horse whenever I rode him. I agree, but I had to ask! I want us to learn it all together, even if he is at superstar status and I am somewhere lying in the mud!! So, riding, more riding, and then riding some more! And drilling holes at least to 2'3-2'6 into the jump standards ASAP!


  1. Like I said, I'll be jumping vicariously through you. I prefer my horses' feet squarely on terra firma.

  2. I am in total agreement with your trainer. My horse barely lifts his feet for a 2ft jump nevermind a 1 ft jump. If it's one thing I have learned in working with horses it's that you need to keep their interest or they either space out of find things to make the job more interesting. Good luck with your jumping!

  3. Well that makes sense. I've actually seen horses on a trail way overjumping a little low if they are terrified of it. The horses that I've seen jump cleanly are the ones that eyeball the jump and then sail right over it with no panic or over excitement.

    I can why a horse would be bored of a low jump, especially a large athletic horse like your handsome Jackson :)

    Have fun!


Please leave your comments here! I am always happy to hear from all of you in the form of advice, encouragement or questions!
~Slainte' Mhath!