I had asked Sarah for another lesson on Tommy shortly after my last one. As the lesson date approached I went back and forth about whether to keep it. To be honest, I was worried about the negative effects for Tommy if I jumped him again. But that’s the nice thing about having a trainer who is also your close friend. When I told Sarah I wasn’t sure I should jump him again, and why, she basically said “I know you and know you have been thinking about jumping him since your lesson 2 weeks ago. I know you’ve thought about everything you can do better, and you’re going to regret not jumping him again. He’ll be fine. I think you should jump him.”
I’m not usually THIS self-critical, or THIS worried about “ruining” a horse, but he’s a really nice horse, and he’s not mine, and it’s REALLY nice that my friend is letting me ride him. I don’t want to mess anything up. Have any of you felt this way before?
I got to work when I hopped on him and we started with 6 ground poles set 9 feet apart. Just trotting and cantering through them, keeping the connection while having elastic elbows and staying up off of his back. (Btw thank you SO much to those of you who had some ideas in my last post about what might help. Especially Tracy @Fly On Over and Nicole @Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management– I thought of your words a lot… )
I was kinda like “Phew, rocked the ground poles. We should probably end there.” But, instead, Sarah raised the middle one to a jump and pushed them all out to about 10ft. I just kept thinking “It’s a ground pole, keep doing what you’re doing.” And I tried, but I did let Tommy get more strung out, and quicken.
It took me a few tries to get it right, but it was SO much better than our last lesson. We were able to put all the jumps up in the grid (3 total) and we worked on some finesse things. My elbows kept moving and I never froze before the jump. I did, however, run Tommy at the jumps a couple of times. This is a habit I have to break. I see my distance and kind of gun the horse to it. Ugh. He does not need that. Georgie tolerates it and maybe even at this point expects it, but it’s not a great habit. So, we worked on me staying calm and fluid through the grid when I saw my distance, and doing something if I saw the distance wasn’t going to work out.
It by no means was perfect. But it was a hell of a lot better than last time. Tommy didn’t get angry, I started to feel and try different things, and by the end, it felt like maybe I could actually ride a sensitive horse.
I am actually posting a video I am not horrified by:
I probably won’t get to jump Tommy again, as he goes into serious training once Sarah is back from Califoria the end of February, but having had the experience was amazing. I feel like I learned so much from riding a horse so different from mine. I’ll be doing trot sets and keeping him fit for the next couple of weeks while Sarah is gone and I am excited to do it. Between Tommy and Val I feel like I am starting to fall for bay geldings…