Monday, December 2, 2013

Awww yeah!


We did it.

We jumped in the indoor without any threats of violence or death voiced from Bobby or myself.

As has been well documented in this blog, jumping in the indoor is like trying to get a moose around a Grand Prix jumper course in a small dressage court. If we can make it over a 6" cross rail without totally biting it, it's been a successful fucking day.

Bobby hadn't been ridden since last Sunday, but that's never any bigs. He always comes out the same way, whether he's had a day off or three months off. He warmed up forward and bouncy with his ears flopped over sideways in his customary "Derp" pose.

I set up an exercise I saw on one of the last Evention episodes: a small vertical (we started at 2') set at X with placing poles set in a diamond shape around the jump 12' out so you're jumping the vertical at an angle. I think they said 9' in the video, but 12' worked well for us.

like so.
vertical set at its end height of 2'6"

Warming up on the flat, I was going back and forth into two point and really jamming my lower leg and heels forward, trying to communicate to my leg that forwards is better than backwards. I used to tell this to Bobby all the time too, and he eventually got it. The idea being, of course, if I think about shooting my leg forward a crazy amount like Marilyn Little, it might actually just stay at my girth instead of swinging back any.

my leg needs to think like this to be immobile. 

Warming up over the fence, I started off turning down the center line at C and cantering through the small gap between the poles. Bobby was arrow straight, totally balanced, and didn't break rhythm for a second. He nailed the distance every single time, and never got frazzled about anything. Who is this horse?!

We moved on to the exercise at the trot first. Bobby was totally unfazed and jumped around like it was nothing. Really, it was nothing--a fun exercise, and great for working on angled jumps and lead changes, but not really a difficult exercise--but he's always so awful at jumping in there!

I got off and knocked the jump up to 2'6" and Bobby went right back to work without getting pissed. Over the jumps, he was a total boss. On the flat between fences, he was a little bit of a bear. He likes to curl behind the bit (or the hackamore in his case) when jumping, and if I'm not paying attention (which is often), I let him pull my upper body down with him. Obviously that does nothing good for either of us, but I was on top of shit today. I forced him to keep his head up, made him stay forward and off his forehand, and really worked on taking the time to bend through the turns instead of careening around them. It's probably what helped make his jumps so good. Dressage is the basis for everything!

But back to my random leg blurb quickly. We did come into one jump where I was shortening my reins as we were one stride out from the pole--for whatever reason; it's just how I roll--and I was caught off guard for the jump. I ended up slipping my reins (thank you, Red, for teaching me that wonderful tool), but my lower leg went flying off to Neverland.

I came around again, and reminded myself to jam my leg and heel forward as far as they could go over the jump--which had been making me feel so much tighter over the rest of the jumps--and dang if I wasn't able to pop out an auto release without moving my legs an inch. Best feeling ever to actually feel like I know what I'm doing over a jump with this horse. Now I just need Hubby to come document this experiment to see where my leg actually goes when I think it's being still.

"are you fucking done blabbing yet?"
no, bobby, i'm not!
I asked BM to look at his hooves with me when I was done. She agreed that the toe can come back more, but she said to leave his bars for now. Her reasoning was that his sole is still a little flat and that on our frozen and rocky ground, the bar is giving his hoof that much more lift. She thinks it will wear down on it's own before getting out of control, but I'll keep an eye on it. I know that when I first pulled his shoes it was horrendous. She also pointed out a spot on each front foot that I hadn't balanced correctly, so I fixed that quickly and we scooted out of there before getting mobbed by lessoners. I'll take his toes back some more the next time I'm out.

I'm super grateful that I can get advice from you guys, and that I can then take it back and have BM check my work or teach me how to do something. Basically, thanks for being my free online farriers! I really value what you guys have to say!


  1. Ya, you guys rock, you got that moose around ;)

  2. Yay jumping!

    Re: hoofs, I tend to leave the bars. BUT! My horse is absolutely tenderfooted without them. Since he can't use his toes properly, they are basically his support system, and they wear naturally without getting in the way. I like to just be very minimal in my trims and just see what works and what doesn't. You get to know your horse, and what works and what doesn't for him.

  3. When I mess with the bars, they grow more. So I am messing with them less often now. Looks like a fun exercise!

  4. looks fun, I need to try your thinking about pushing legs forward. Cause I don't. Hopefully Bobby realizes the indoor is a fun place to jump now.

  5. Woo hoo!! Victory!!

    That's awesome that you have BM to help bounce feet questions off of :)

  6. What fun!!! I have been LUSTING after wanting to jump jump Laz and dreaming of it...ugh. Maybe soon, one day!!? Bars--aw yes. Sometimes they offer support in addition, and then sometimes they flip/fold and seem to hurt the soles. I'll never had solid hoof answers!! Clear as mud. But I love it.

  7. Very, very cool!
    PS - I ***LOVE*** grids! They are so awesome for letting me work on ME!

  8. I think *exactly* the same thing when I'm jumping. When I feel like my leg is out in front of me, it's in the right spot and it stays there. Interesting what mental imagery does for us riders!

    And YAY for jumping in the indoor!

  9. Awesome! This exercise looks really cool!


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