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“What is this?”  you ask… Well, it just so happens to be ANOTHER lesson. I know, it’s pretty shocking at this point. This makes our 3rd jumping lesson since moving to the new barn – more than I was able to get in all of 2017!

NT also changes around the jumps a lot, so this week was a whole new challenge. A fan of bounces! I know some people are very familiar with this exercise, but it was one I had never done before. With May’s propensity to pop her shoulder out when things get tough, I figured this grid might have our number. Below is a good idea of what it looked like. The biggest difference was that, to start out, ours were raised on the outside to encourage the horse to the circle.

The first time through, we were supposed to trot it to make sure we got the right bend, connection, impulsion. May decided to just canter the whole thing, which was not the point. We tried again, and more purposeful posting and a well-timed half-halt had her trotting through it properly. One more time at the trot to make sure that was all set, and we were onto cantering it. This was… surprisingly easy. We reversed and did it again the other way and worked a bit on me keeping my body back over such small jumps. NT raised the jumps to three verticals, and we went through again without an issue.

This was during the last course, but gives you the best angle on this gymnastic.

So, we moved onto the next exercise. Building on the same idea of controlling the outside shoulder, this was 3 jumps, where you were encouraged to make more square turns between each jump. The jumps were small verticals, but the idea was to jump one, go a couple of strides, make a square turn, get straight, jump the next one, and repeat.

Three Jump Exercise

Our first time through this was rough. I really wanted to use my inside hand to pull her body around the corner, instead of using my outside rein and leg. As a result, I almost missed the second jump and none of my distances showed up nicely. The second time was a bit better, as I concentrated on sitting and rotating May around my inside leg. She even got lighter in the bridle, who would’ve thought! (NT was fully aware that this was going to happen.) We reversed it and had even better luck.

Finally, it was course time. (See the pattern of these lessons building on each other? It is fascinating.)

08 08 Full Course

So! Starting on the right lead over the triple. Right turn IMMEDIATELY to a 6 stride line (oxer to vertical). Then, we had to boogie a bit to get forward enough to come down the gold combination, which was an oxer, 2 strides to another oxer, 2 strides to a vertical. Left turn to loop around to the pink line. The oxer into the pink line was set kind of awkwardly off the rail so that you had to ride the horse’s outside shoulder to get the distance. Then, it was 3 strides to the barrel.

The first time, we nailed the bounces, turned to the purple jump 2… I put my leg on… and nothing. It took May probably 3 strides to actually get it in gear. While we hit the oxer fine, we didn’t have enough gas to get down that line in 6, and we ended up reaching the vertical at an awkward 6.25 strides. Whoops.

Um… Kick Mom! (4A, B &C)

However, I KNEW we had to get our butts in gear to get through the triple. So I galloped her forward and got her SUPER in front of my leg as we turned to that combination. From the more forward pace, it rode pretty easy, and we were able to land, re-balance, and make a nice turn to finish the last line in 5. At the end, I halted her and asked her to yield her shoulder, right and then left.

My biggest issue with May is her locking her shoulder and losing her suppleness while jumping at speed, so we are making sure that each course ends either with a circle or some leg yielding to reiterate that she needs to stay soft with me. The halting during this lesson was a decision I made due to how much speed we were carrying throughout the entire course.

So what did we do next? Trainer raised jumps 2 and 4C, and we did it again! This time, May responded much better to my leg before jump 2, and we were easily able to make it down that line in six strides. I pushed her forward again after that line and we were ROLLING. It has been a long time since I have jumped from that truly open step, and man, it felt REALLY good.

This is the “GO FORWARD!” moment before jump 2. 

We got a bit deep into the first part of the triple, but we had enough momentum to easily carry us through the line without losing balance or rhythm. The last jump in that line was now closer to Novice height than BN, and May CRACKED her back over it. It threw me a touch off balance, but I recovered quickly. We cantered to the last jump, and it finally sunk it that NT was yelling at me to use my seat. You can actually hear me say “seat” as I realized what she was telling me. I am glad I sat because it kept us from screwing up the turn to 5, and we sailed easily over 6. Again, halt and supple before ending. The full video *with hilarious audio* is below.

By far, it was the best course we had done in a LONG time, so we called it a day on that. Immediately after my lesson, I felt like I had given up and should’ve kept pushing even though the heat had me a bit nauseous and dizzy. However, after writing this all up, it was quite the lesson! AND we had the hunter pace 2 days later. No shame in keeping a horse fresh for work. Called it a day, took care of May, and chugged down some electrolytes. Couldn’t be happier with this mare.

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  1. martidoll123

    great job i am exhausted watching all that 🙂 She is the cutest and you have every right to love her! 🙂 Has it been very humid up there? it has here and even last nite at 75 degrees felt a LOT hotter. I keep wanting to ride and then put it off due to the humidity. I will need to haul somewhere after my trip to find an arena for sure.

    Love May 🙂 She is adorable. Her ears are so cute too!

    1. Emily

      It was SUPER humid. Our hunter pace on Saturday was only an hour an the temps were only in the 80s, but everyone was feeling it. I am just not used to it at all.

      I love her ears. I never noticed how often they flick back to me to check in throughout a course.

      1. martidoll123

        yes i love how they flick back and forth too. PLUS they are tiny like Tate’s so i want to kiss their ears HA HA HA I am odd.

        Yeah it is NOT even that hot here but the humidity is thick….

        It is crazy when 80s feels hot right??? Can’t wait to read about your pace! I am living thru you riding 🙂

  2. emma

    this trainer sounds freakin awesome – i love all the exercises she sets up for you! challenging but also FUN! so great that May seems to be really enjoying it too, i love that feeling haha

    1. Emily

      It’s been really fun feeling my confidence start to come back under NT. The consistency and thought process of her lessons have made a big difference for both of us. May was totally ready for another 15 rounds hahaha

  3. roamingridersite

    That looks like a fun lesson. So many challenging exercises all building together.

    1. Emily

      Thanks! It was really fun, and it’s so great to leave a lesson and both you and your horse have gained a lot of confidence.

  4. Karen Taylor

    I LOVE the courses she sets up! This one looks super challenging. You guys rocked it!

    1. Emily

      Thanks! I loved this course because it was a lot of open distances that really rewarded you and the horse for going forward.

  5. KC Scott

    That looks like a blast! I’m living vicariously through everyone else right now, so keep taking lessons 🙂

    It sounds like you and NT are really making some incredible progress!

    1. Emily

      Yes! So much progress. It’s been fun. I’ll make sure to take my cambox around as much as possible for you. 🙂

  6. Kelly

    Awesome!!! I love that feeling when things really “click”. Sounds like you guys are really finding your stride, and that the new barn has been amazing for you and May!

    1. Emily

      She’s so happy it’s ALMOST annoying. But so am I (just ask my husband how much I gush about the new barn )

  7. eventerinprogress

    This is so great! I am living wildly through you right now being out of action, and I’m so happy you’re fitting the lessons in you were hoping to. Looks like it’s paying off as well!!

    1. Emily

      It’s definitely paying off. After 2 years, i finally feel like we are really back in the game again.

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