This past weekend Sarah held some course work jump lessons and I signed right up! Sure, June and I are currently trotting poles to a cross rail, but I knew Sarah wouldn’t over face us, and I knew we needed to spice things up a bit as June is not one for constant repetition.
She was super chill to tack up and on the longe. But I got on her and she realized we were jumping and I swear mare became a hot and sensitive beast. Now… I also realize the fact that she was calm until I got on her doesn’t bode well for me. Perhaps I made her a hot and sensitive beast? Maybe. But she definitely comes out of the gate raring to go, this one. This is so out of my comfort zone. A forward horse is lovely. I mean, I’m sure it will be, once I learn how to ride it. What I learned in this lesson, was that sometimes I just need to go with it.
Because June likes to take over to the jump, I came into this lesson prepared to do lots of transitions and keep things calm and her attention on me. She was great in warm up over the ground poles and settled in quite well as the lesson progressed. I wasn’t getting my typical June reaction, which has been, good for the first part, and then as things progress she gets more and more opinionated.
And so, this is where I made my first mistake of the day. I didn’t read the horse I had. Now, it could have been that she was good because we were doing so many transitions and mainly working out of the trot. But it also could have been that she was good because of the work we had been doing and now was ready to progress. But instead of letting her canter to the jump, or letting her do her job, I got stiff in my body, constantly brought her back to the trot, and basically fought with her more than was necessary. I was unable to move forward with her, and instead just wanted to control every little thing.
I like to think of bringing along a horse as learning from a book. You need to know when to move on to the next chapter. When is your horse ready for you to move on, even if everything isn’t perfect. Or, when do you understand that they are ready for what’s next? I struggle with moving to the next chapter sometimes. I want to be as diligent and understanding of the current chapter and basically understand it to the nth degree before moving on. And this isn’t the most advanced form of horsemanship. Sometimes I need to take a risk and move ahead and use what we have learned to be successful with what we encounter.
In this current lesson, despite Sarah telling me the same thing over and over, I didn’t relax my elbows and allow her to do her job. I didn’t see what would happen if I landed in the canter, re-balanced, and kept cantering to the next jump. I just kept thinking “Don’t let her take over, don’t let her go too fast.” Which was irritating, but understandable. I’m not used to a sensitive go get em, kind of horse, which June most certainly is.
All in all, the lesson was a lot of fun. I’m really excited to replicate it in my next lesson. I’m excited to allow June to canter and just see what I need to do in order to not pick, pick, pick, to the fence. Mare has zero issues jumping, so now, as we jump cross rails, is the time to get all of this sorted out. I’m really excited and can’t wait to work on something that is clearly out of my comfort zone.