Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Rallying the fun

I was so super bummed when my toe got squished into a million pieces and filled my shoe with an ocean of blood.


I had one more show left that I really wanted to do, but I had managed to get enough scores to submit for year end awards anyway. The biggest disappointment was that it put me out of commission for the most fun time of the year--hunter pace season!

I ended up missing two of those and a scheduled cross country school, but through perseverance refusal to stay off my horse, a month and a half later I've managed to cram my foot into a riding boot and actually be totally okay with riding like a normal person. That gives me two hunter paces this month, a hunter show next month, and a cross country school last week. Hallelujah!

just the cutest fall snootest

I spent last weekend and into Thursday evening of last week flying hither and yon across the country. BM and I had our sights set on Friday for pretty much the only day for the rest of eternity we could both make work to haul out to school, so while I was gone I managed to convince one of the barn kids that riding Opie for me while I was gone would be really super fun. I don't think she agreed by the time the week was up--BM told me she couldn't get Opie's buttons to keep working after day one (schoolmaster he is not), and the girl herself let me know that he may or may not have spooked at make believe things every ride and then tried to take off with her on the last day.


Aside from needing a refresher on manners, no harm done though. Plus he was super cute when I went out to get him for this adventure. His friends were already halfway down the field, and he was starting to wander off towards them, when I called his name from across the parking lot and he threw on the brakes to come right back over to the gate. ADORBS.

He needed that gold star in his book because once on it was a hot mess express for eighty percent of the ride itself.

He stopped at the very first jump--the tiniest log on the planet. I spanked him, backed him up, and made him go over it from the walk. And then again at the trot.

it's basically a stick, sir.

BM took us down to the water first which in theory was a good confidence builder. Opie walked and trotted in and out, and then gamely jumped right up his first bank like it was no big deal.

And then followed Momo down for his first drop:

he calmly stepped down the first time

but was slightly more exuberant for trip two

We popped over some smaller logs around the water without incident before heading back into the big field. Opie was a little snorty at all the different jumps so I trotted him in and out of them before starting with a seemingly simple log stack.

It was, apparently, not so simple.

I realized at the trailer once I was already on that I had taken my rein stops off for the last hunter show and had never put them back on. Not wanting to dig around for them--assuming they were even in my trailer--I just took the running martingale off thinking it wouldn't be a big deal. My face disagreed. On numerous occasions.

BM was like, "I don't even know exactly what he's doing, but it sure is special."

I tried to take a break from it and get some better juju going over a different log stack, but...nah.

After several start-stop-launches and a couple of half assed refusals, we were finally able to get in one jump that didn't end with both of us flying through the air in pure awkward glory.

why did this have to be so hard tho.

We moved on to a couple more jumps where neither one of us could get on the same page. I was trying to keep my reins long to avoid hitting him in the mouth as much as possible during his unpredictable launches, but in hindsight I don't think it helped either one of us. I also tried to canter him right off the bat to most of them since they were so small, but again, in hindsight probably not the best approach.

He was super squirrely to things and kept trying to duck out at the last second, which then made me doubt his commitment to go over anything so when he did actually take off I was usually in a defense position.

i do not trust you, baby jumping horse

We finally got one good jump from the canter; I praised the shit out of him, shoved a candy in his mouth, and took a little walking mental break. At the heart of it, he just didn't seem confident in himself until that last jump where he landed and you could physically see and feel him understand that that was how a good boy jumps.

I picked the trot back up and went back and forth over the little house and a mini fake rolltop thing over and over until he was picking up the canter himself and taking me to the jump.

In some sort of groove, we followed BM over a BN rolltop:

And then did a couple more BN fences on our own.

yeah, there was still some questionable technique...

We finished with the house to little rolltop line one more time. Both boys were sweaty beasts by that point and I felt like Opie was probably at the end of useful brain cells so we headed back towards the trailers. We cantered off over a little log which he did super, and then the tires which he went right over, even though I went back on the defensive thinking he was going to try something sneaky.

logs: scary.
tires: no problemo.

I was so annoyed with myself. I knew he'd gotten into the groove and was feeling like he could jump all the things finally, but I was still riding like he was going to slam on the brakes. With one more jump available, I told myself to quit riding like he was going to stop and trust him to go over like a [barely educated at best] jumping horse.

which he did because he is A Good Boy

We finished up going back and forth over the ditch. He followed Momo right over the first time.

no drama here

When I went to take him over by himself, he slammed to a halt. Fortunately for him, because I'm getting pretty sick of the "I can't do things anymore without Momo" attitude on adventures, I spanked him once and he went back and forth multiple times without further incident.

He then had to stand for thirty seconds to wait for Momo to jump a combination, during which he tried to knock me out by violently flinging his head around when I told him he couldn't follow, and the last of his brain cells officially died.

no longer a functioning member of society.

My goal for this schooling was for it to be a fun trip off property for both of us, but it ended up being more of an actual schooling event. I need to remind myself that's where Opie is in his jumping life, so my expectations shouldn't have been anything else. If I tried hard, I could probably recall every single individual, focused jump school he's had since he came off the track. It's not a lot.

He knows the game is to get to the other side, but that's really about the extent of his education. When he gets put in a brand new environment, with brand new jumps, he needs to be told how to do pretty much everything. I can't expect to just magically know how to go from being a trained dressage horse to a trained jumping horse with no training on his resume.

trained at the walk

My goal this winter is to do a lot of gymnastic work with him. He's going to stay a dressage horse, but if I want to keep pulling him out for fun jumping adventures, the least I can do is impart some knowledge on him to make them fun for the both of us.


  1. ok so for literally every single picture in this post i was like, "OMG THIS IS THE ACTUAL BEST PICTURE," until i got to the next one and was like, "NO WAIT *THIS* IS THE ACTUAL BEST EVAR PICTURE OMG!" haha.... there are so many classics here, i love it. special Opie, special. also please come back south so we can do all the hunter paces forever....

    1. Hunter paces for life. And only having to drive ten seconds for every show ever.

  2. oh my god, he's soooooooooooo cute i ADORE him even when he's trying to put his ears up your nose.

    1. He's lucky Hubby was able to come along because if I'd had to deal with his shenanigans without accompanying media to remind me that he's cute, he would have probably been left behind.

  3. Not only is he a cute horse, but he is also the best cross country carousel I've ever seen.

  4. "Iz hard to know right answer when jompies" -- Opie

    1. So many new things to do with you fifteen legs tho!

  5. Still no idea how your face isn’t broke.

  6. These pictures made me giggle! Silly Dopie horse!

  7. LOL I feel like Opie and Jack flail in many of the same ways. Very impressed that he dropped into the water on his first try!

    1. I actually felt better about dropping into the water instead of off one of the banks because he's basically a mermaid already.

  8. I have totally missed Jumping Dopie Pictures in my life

    1. They are their own sort of special specialness.

  9. LOL, I enjoyed this far more than I should have. Which probably makes me a bad person. But oh well.

    1. You probably enjoyed it more than I did. :P

  10. these photos are amazing. ahhaa.

  11. Some of these are just BEGGING for some photoshop...

    1. Like my head ACTUALLY flying off my body instead of you just knowing that's what was going to happen .2 seconds later? LOL

  12. I honestly don't know how he managed to get his body in some of those positions. But the ones he jumped well, he jumped REALLY well!

    1. Perfectly capable of being a jumping horse when not being a dumb horse.

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