I got to the barn and my friend and fellow eventer was just finishing up her ride on Blackberry the Wonder Pony, so I stopped to whine and bitch with her for awhile. She had set up two 2'6 verticals and lacking a real game plan, I kept them out, leaving one at 2'6 and making the other 3'.
When I brought Red in, the first thing I did was take his temp--99.5. Thank Goodness. I put his running martingale on because he can get a little strung out and rushy while jumping, and that won't work in a small indoor. The martingale packages him right up which I've found is a disaster cross country, but it worked for us today.
We had a fabulous warm up--I feel so much more secure and effective when I'm riding with short stirrups. I think it's because that's how I've ridden so long and it's my comfort zone. Hopefully I'll start feeling like I'm riding better with long dressage stirrups as I go on, but I feel like I get a lot more out of Red when I'm riding short.
We popped over the 2'6 vertical a couple of times, but Red felt that it was an insult to his manhood and didn't bother doing much more than putting in a big canter stride over it, taking it down the final time. I raised it to 3', then while I was on the ground, I raised the 3' up a hole. "Hmm, that looks way bigger than 3'3. Oh well!" Sometimes spontaneous non-thinking actions are not always the right thing to do.
But sometimes they are!
We went over the 3' three times with no issues, then came around to the big jump. And this thing looked like a monster. Like a friggin' paddock fence plopped in the middle of the arena. Red was like, "lalala, cantering cantering, la....oh, shit. You actually want me to jump this thing!" He put in an excellent effort and didn't for a second think of running out or stopping, but he didn't have enough umph or warning and he brought the whole kaboodle down.
Not one to be defeated, and feeling a little drugged out from too much cold medicine, I put the jump back together and hopped back on. We went over the 3' jump again, then came back to the beastly thing calling itself a vertical. At this point, where normally I would have been scared shitless, I was feeling really hungry and really tired, so my body went into auto-pilot.
Half halt. Turn. Get him straight. Leg, leg. Biggest release ever. Sit back up before you go tumbling right over his shoulder. Give pony ten million pats after he goes over in a perfect, dreamy jump.
Now halt and realize what you just did. Stop yourself from peeing your pants.
After I got Red snuggled back into his blankie, rubbed down with linament, and buried in hay and his dinner, I brough the measuring tape down. 3'3? Bitch, please. The hole was 3'6. I was using these insanely large plastic jump cups that you probably could have used to set up raised cavaletti off the ground. That brought us to 3'9. I shit you not. Now add the actual height of the pole. Are you following? The middle of the jump at the top of the pole was 4'. FOUR FEET, PEOPLE!!!!
I have never jumped over 3'3 before. I don't know how I'm still alive. Obviously Red is the best pony in the whole entire universe. Also obviously, this will not be a feat repeated any time soon. Next time, the measuring tape is going to come to the arena with me before I ride so I know what the hell I'm actually jumping.
Red is a bad ass.