Friday, January 29, 2016

Top Gun

Better know as Oz, or Oz Man, or Ozzy, or "If you feel like you're going to die over jumps, this is the horse for you!"

BM texted me Thursday afternoon to say she had Friday morning free, and if I wanted to jump around on Oz, she'd school Bobby again. Bonus training ride? Um, duh! I'm glad BM likes riding Bobby so much. She gets off and is already spouting ideas on what she wants to try with him next. Her last client horse she had in training--and who is out now with a paddock injury--was super nappy and kind of a tool to ride, so I think the fact that Bobby is already so well schooled makes it more fun for her.

A quick run down on Oz: He was broke to race, but he had serious starting gate issues stemming from his giant size and never actually made it to the track. Not only is this horse super tall, but he's also built like a tank. BM got him at two from his breeder and has had him ever since. He's twelve now and has been in the lesson program for most of his life. He knows his job to a tee, and he's very much adopted the lesson horse mentality. "I'll do it if you ask right, but if you don't, fuck you."

also loves kitties

BM told me he was going to tattle on every single one of my jumping faults, but that he was in no way malicious about it. If he stops, it's three strides out and he does it so slowly there's no mistaking he's going to do.

I was actually able to get him a little active and round warming up on the flat which BM was very happy with. He's so giant and set in his plug-along lesson horse ways that he's not much for flexing or bending, but he ended up looking alright for me. I'm glad I can bring something to the table!

Our first jumping attempt was a one stride--pole to a 18" vertical--that I trotted into first because his canter is very big and I'm a chicken. Oz plunked into the line and--just like BM said--calmly came to the slowest, calmest halt in front of it when I did nothing but hold onto his reins and not add leg.

I brought him back around, and....yeah. Same result. BM told me I had to build up some momentum and actually, you know, tell him to jump the jump so I picked up the canter and came around with a war cry, determined to get us over this massive obstacle.

Oz patiently loped into the line and loped out over the vertical without so much as picking up his feet. Okay, so, maybe not the giant jumping effort I rode for, but I got him over it.

snuggles!

We played around with that a few more times, and I finally got him feeling alive enough that he did a big canter stride over the vertical instead of a little one. Look out, eventing world. Training is almost within my reach again.

BM assured me that this was how Oz jumped everything 2'6" and under, and he was in no way going to launch these tiny jumps. Basically, chill the fuck out and go jump something else. Our next beast was a whopping 2'3" vertical on the rail.

"He's not going to kill me if I turn in to this, is he?"
"Carly, no. Just sit up and let him do his job."

He gave me a great "jump" over it and we cantered off in a victory lap. OMG, so big, we're alive!!! We changed direction and had to come off of it from a much longer approach. This led to me clinging to dear life to my reins, and Oz calmly veering off to the side as we got closer to tell me I was doing it wrong, and could I please figure myself out so he could do the jumping.

BM told me to stop clutching my right rein and just let him go. He wasn't going to rush, he wasn't going to give me a bad distance. All I had to do was sit there and let him do his thing. I gave him a nice loopy rein, stayed back and out of his way, let my legs close around his giant barrel, and we made it over with zero issues.

We jumped that again without a problem, and then made the 2'6" star jump our finale. Only, you know, IT WAS SO GIANT AND SCARY. BM told me to soften him as we turned the corner, so I gave him a half halt that I then didn't release because SO SCARY, and Oz, from easily five strides out, told me, "No, no, lady. You give me my reins or we do not do the jumping."

I circled him and approached again, making sure to flop my reins and let him take over. He gave me a nice metronome canter and hopped over it without any fuss.

of course i made a barn mate get a picture, although
she pointed out that oz's giant size made this look about 1' tall.

He might not be the best horse to learn to manage Bobby's specialness, but he is for sure going to let me get back in the groove of "jumping is fun and not scary."

BM, meanwhile, was jumping Bobby over a triple bar and a 3' one stride, and I had zero desire to attempt any of that with him. Turn Bobby into Oz over fences, BM, and he'll be the perfect horse!

16 comments:

  1. I love these horses that tell on us! He sounds like just what you need. I have to admit, every time I read a blog with you expressing your worry with jumping, the image of you and Bobby over that 5 foot oxer always pops into my mind:)

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  2. Oz sounds perfect. sometimes i kinda wish isabel would tell me to fuck off when i cling desperately to the reins all the way to the fence... maybe i'd finally learn to let go too?

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  3. Oz sounds like a total sweetheart!

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  4. So awesome that you have access to horses like this right now. Oz sounds like a total rockstar. :-)

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  5. Hah! Oz does make that jump look tiny. GO YOU

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  6. Yaaay! I'm so happy you're getting your jump back :) Oz sounds awesome.

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  7. Can you feel the love tonight... i hear Lion King lol

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  8. So awesome! Love ""No, no, lady. You give me my reins or we do not do the jumping." :)

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  9. I desperately need an Oz in my life!

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  10. Does Oz have a twin?? He sounds awesome.

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  11. Sounds like a super awesome horse, and cute to boot!

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  12. Oz sounds like such a great guy! Glad you're having "fun" over those enormous jumps. :)

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  13. This post is full of awesomeness. Extra love for the explanations of the actual jumping process, full of awesome, smothered in amazing sauce. You will get this back in zero time.

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  14. I love horses like that! Youre killin it

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