Although really, not that high. Amber and I did do some jumping Saturday (yay!) and I thought we were fairly good at it for the second time really trying (yay!!). So get ready for lots of GIFs and lots of pictures. Because I love pictures.
Friday we went on a simple bareback hack. Just walking for fifteen minutes to get her blood moving and muscles working.
Saturday, I switched out the orange boxes for some bigger cardboard boxes (we STILL keep it uber classy) and made the jump a very small crossrail. Nothing big at all – probably not even 18″. But I was super excited because while I was expecting her to just trot over it like cavaletti, I was high as a kite for the rest of the day.
She was awesome. Warmed up a little stiff, and perhaps a bit nervous since I decided I should put my stirrups up for jumping one more hole. My legs were in a higher position and I could feel her react to my left leg a lot so I know she was worried about it. But she began to relax to it about halfway through. I’m discovering that she really doesn’t need spurs for jumping.
Her first trot over was much like her many first attempts 2 weeks ago:
Maybe it’s just me, but despite her jumping up and not over, I think she looks pretty darn adorable.
My balance isn’t quite where it should be, of course, but I will definitely get better with practice. With my stirrups up a hole from the last time I jumped, I felt less balanced and uncomfortable, but my super old muscle memory sure remembered what I was supposed to do even if I didn’t quite accomplish it.
Our second attempt was a bit more amusing, considering I had ironically shared a video of a horse doing almost this exact same thing:
I’m not too sure why she stopped, other than perhaps she was just feeling “meh” about it, but as you can see she still went over just fine. You can’t see in the video but I gave her a few little taps with my heels and some clucks, and she walked on over. Turns out that’s really all that’s needed to tell her stopping isn’t necessarily an option because our next attempt looked like this:
No way she wasn’t going that time! I was just happy as a clam the whole ride. She was so super. We had a couple other really great goes over the crossrail:
They worked out well and she was feeling pretty confident.
And I really wanted to canter her after that last one. By that time it’d only been maybe 20 minutes, and although she was sweaty from the heat she wasn’t puffing since I made sure to walk a lap or two after each one. She just felt very eager Saturday, like she knew we were doing the fun things.
Even though now I think she realizes the fun things are hard, too. But those little ears….man she was so focused on that little crossrail.
When cantering, it was just so exciting. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but man, it was just plain fun. I love this little mare! Our next cantering ones were pretty much successful with only one flub and she didn’t even knock the pole down when we didn’t get the striding right, clever girl.
My mom suggested sitting back, getting her into a softer canter, one I usually do for a little more dressage and to help slow the tempo and let her think calm, and I have to say it turned out nicely, I thought. She was calm going up to the crossrail, didn’t rush, and came back down to a trot of her own accord after a few canter steps and some fun head shaking. Silly girl.
With those last few she started getting less offended if the contact I had pulled a bit. At first that’s when you see her throw her head up, thinking she did something wrong, and towards the end of the videos she isn’t worried. I do love looking at her shaking tail though. It’s not straight up in the air but damn she’s adorable.
We cooled out for a good while, and I was just tickled with her. And she seemed to have a good time as well. Her ears were up and while she was puffing more at the end of the ride, she still cooled off and came back to normal quickly. I kept feeling for if she had a bad step or felt short, but overall she felt pretty even. She seems to get a little short when I pick up contact, but I watched her walk after me and both hind feet touched the back of her front footprint to be very even. So I iced her up and gave her her much-deserved grain.
Sunday was our usual hack and around 30 minutes. She had a nice marching walk most of the way, and wanted to be a bit jiggy and stop a bit, but after a few clucks and a few taps with my heels she was very forward moving again. I checked her over before the hack and after, and she didn’t feel bad at all. Perhaps a teensy bit tight, and that seemed to loosen with the walk.
She was very excited for the hack Sunday, and her enthusiasm for being outside and how she feels a bit jumping makes me super excited for the future. I always told myself if I ever went cross country – even on a baby course – it’d have to be on a horse that I trusted with my life. And I trust this little girl to the moon and back – no matter that she’s only seven and doesn’t know what we’re doing. We take care of each other, and what better animal to go cross country with than with one you’ve built such a relationship as ours?
I got a new halter for her – a beta-biothane one you see in the picture above of her in the crossties. It’s completely waterproof, so it’ll start saving her leather halter from inhaling so much water. We’ll see how it does!
Since today I’m off of work, I’m planning to do a little more jumping again, but only perhaps 2 or 3 times and then work on loosening up her muscles. Goodness knows I need the work, too. Those shorter stirrups are now killing my thighs. But, I can’t wait to do it again!
And now for all the stills from the videos.
Happy Labor Day!