Just finished actually reading all the responses and as usual, MIEventer, yours was full of great advice/information! Sandie is one of those horses who is SO willing to do anything for you, BUT if you jump ahead and she's already unsure of the jump, she WILL refuse it...and as you already know, she taught me that the hard way in a couple Events I did this summer!! Lol Luckily, I didn't get hurt the way YOU did (OUCH!!!) I can't believe you just wrapped yourself up with vet wrap (hot pink, no less lol) and kept going!!!
Talk about dedication!
LOL, yep HITS - I kept going. That scar that I have though, is a great reminder! And HITS, let me tell you, how proud I am of you for learning from your mistakes. I remember telling you a while ago to stay behind your horse, ride with a solid seat, but I know hearing it in words is one thing, but experiencing it for yourself is another - and when the light bulb finally came on for you, both you and Sandie were unstoppable for the rest of the season! I applaud you!
thank you to everyone who posted! You guys absolutely give the best advice. And I appreciate the long answers and explanations. I am comfortable trotting and cantering over poles. That was part of my flat training when I was younger (but stopping there. Never went to jumping). MIeventer, I completely agree that it starts with the rider. I would get no where if all I did was punish my horse for my mistakes. It my job to set him up so he can do the best he can. And honestly, its helped me so much that he isnt just taking me over everything regardless. By refusing and running out, he's teaching me that I need to do my job correctly. But I also know that he loves me and would never do anything to actually try and hurt me. Its on of the reasons i've tried jumping. I've finally found a horse I trust enough.
I see your point though (and others who agree), I need to go back down to crossrails and really correct this at the lower level. I'm going to ask that I drop back to 18'' and work on my position there before moving back up.
Again, thanks to everyone again for their advice and i'll keep everyone posted. I'll probably have more questions as my jumping progresses lol
I stand up and applaud you, for not only your level headedness about the sitatuion, but for how much love and respect you have for not only your horse, but the sport and yourself - by taking a big step back and saying "woah, time out here, lets fix this"
As George Morris says - "It isn't the height of the fence that matters, it is the quallity of the fence that does"
Be proud of yourself, I know I am and you've earned my respect as a fellow horse woman. You most definitely earned my respect, and that's not easy to do.
You've said some great words as well, that I would like to add to.
I remember a while back, I think a few summers ago?? I was schooling CC the week before an HT that we signed up for - I was out schooling over a Trak fence.
Now, I hate Trak fences. Hate them, hate them, hate them. It is the gap of space between the fence itself, and the ditch directly under it that draws my eyes attention.
So while we were schooling it, I had fear. I am not scared to admit that - and usually CC fences don't scare me, but Trak fences make my heart thump. Aniticipation, the "What If's" run through my head and I cannot find my distance to those bloody *******s.
So every time we went over that fence, it was appauling. I would drop my eyes to the space between the fence and the ditch, and of course, I would drop Nelson and he being a trouper, would jump it - but not so nicely.
If the red flag was up *the red flag is on the right side of the fence* we would of taken it out everytime - that's how bad the jump was.
It got to a point, where I was bumped out of the saddle, awkward enough, where I ended up landing on the ground, out of the saddle, beside my horse, on the other side of the fence.....with my left foot still in the iron, my right leg on the ground and Nelson trotting off with me hopping to the best of my abillity to grab the reins and get him to stop.
Unsucessfully - I ended up being dragged when he quickly realized that he was "free".
During this whole episode, a dear friend who was and still is, a phenominal Fox Hunter with years of knowledge and experience under him. He ended up getting involved and said to me:
"Do you trust your horse?"
"Yes, I am sure I do"
"Ah, no you don't! If you did, you wouldn't be anticipating that fence at all, and you wouldn't be looking at it! Everytime you look at that fence, you are telling Nelson that you do not trust him enough to do his job!"
I was stunned, because he was right.
"Now get your ass over that rediculous nonsense of a fence, and proove to Nelson that you trust him by allowing him to do his job!"
So - moral of the story is, it takes two to tango. This is a team effort. You both have your jobs to do, one cannot do it without the other - you both must work together in unison to accomplish.
So, proove to your horse that you trust him enough, to get you over that fence.
Stop over thinking the process and just allow it to happen. Once you've established the feel for his rhythm and the tempo and flow of his gaits - just breathe, stop looking at the fence, stop anticipating it and just allow it to happen.
I am a Fiddle Player and there are two types of musicians - work with me here -
There are those who play from their heart. They hear the beat, they hear the rhythm. They feel the music inside and allow it to come out of them through their playing.
Then, there are those who play from their brains. They have to see the notes. They have to see the time signatures and the beats. They cannot play from inside, they have to play mechanically.
Apply that to riding. You are allowing yourself to become mechanical. You are riding too much with your brain and eyes, instead of riding thorugh feel.
I firmly believe that Lunge Line Work with No Reins will really help you out. It helps me out immensly. You learn to ride through feel.
Also, since i'm jumping him once a week now (occasionally twice but usually only once), should I get support boots for him? I only ask because he's 15 and I want to make sure im not putting undo strain on his legs.
Absolutely. It cannot hurt. Also, learn how to do standing wraps, standing wraps are very benefitial for your horses legs after a hard work out.
University studdies show that demanding sports wear and tear on our horses legs, and jumping, is high on that list of demanding sports. Such as Gymkanna, Reining, Polo, etc, etc.
So - learn how to apply the 3 P's.
Studdies show that everytime our horse lands off of a fence, their joints break down little by little. That is why Top Level Riders always stress that "A Horse Has Only So Much Jump" - that is why you see many jump only once a week, or jump in the warm up ring at comps.
Since we aren't at GP levels, you can still do your best to apply the 3 P's.
Preperation - through educating yourself on what you can be doing to aid in your horses longivety *sp*
Protection - applying this education. Boots. Wraps. Hosing. Suppliments. Liniments
Prevention - applying the first two P's aids in preventing early breaking down.