Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An Update on our Forward Progress

No, I did it again!!! Agh, I'm going to get this blogging thing down, I swear. I just have so much going on - essays, CBAs, more homework, pulled shoes, food allergies, sicknesses and ski trips - I'm barely getting to sleep at night.

High school for me right now is all about improving my life and creating habits that will stick and help me survive college and my future. I'm riding more, being more responsible for Bailey's care, doing more homework, studying for tests, and actually (kinda) getting to school on time every day. So I suppose I'll have to keep building on that. But that's not the subject I'm here for. This blog is about Bailey, and boy, do I have exciting news for you guys! It has officially been four weeks since this occurred but...


Albeit tiny, they were jumps and we did canter them. I measured them, too, in my excitement. The tallest one from our second lesson that included cantering crossrails (as shown in the picture) was a whopping 15 inches high at the center. That little fact didn't stop Bailey from launching over it once or twice, but she was actually really good about not over-jumping. It might be hard to understand, considering what little information you know about Bailey, but I was so proud of her when I heard her tap that fence once during our lesson. Not only was it a fence she had never jumped in previous days, but she felt comfortable enough jumping that she didn't over-jump it and even let her leg hang a little (She uber-launched over the next jump, but hey, she was just making sure after her "toe-tap incident"). Still, that's a BIG improvement from the days when she often stopped at single ground rails or any kind of striped pole. She still refuses somewhat regularly, but I'm finally learning how to jump a horse, so working with her isn't so scary anymore.

Now that I've conquered some of my fears, she's beginning to do the same. We still have our off days, for sure, but jumping a course is actually something I could see as a possibility due to our new development in jumping training.

Cantering jumps was special for me not only because Bailey and I can do it, but because it shows me that I have enough control of my mare now. The first lesson I had with my trainer, she told me straight off the bat that "no one has any business cantering jumps until they can easily adjust their horse's canter." I couldn't agree more, but at that point I could barely keep Bailey from racing off and cantering her, even on a circle, was nervous business. We've put in some hard work, and the canter isn't a scary gait any more. We have been working on cantering ground poles and elevated poles (at most 6 inches high) for a little while and that day it was just flowing well. (Now, my trainer has a reserved way about her, and isn't too quick to compliment or criticize. She tells you how to use your aids, and when it's right, and is in no way cold or mean - quite the opposite in fact. But she doesn't shower you with compliments either.)

So when I heard her say, "You know, I'm not sure if this will work, but why don't you turn and take the crossrail after the cavaletti?" I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or if I really heard her right, so I responded with, "Wait...at the canter?" She told me to try it and see if it would work. Bailey was confused about the fact that she was cantering towards a crossrail, and I had no idea of what to expect from her, but we managed to get over it decently enough and repeated the exercise a few more times. At the end of the lesson, I was on Cloud Nine. It just made me ecstatic to see that my trainer approved of our improvement with cantering and jumping. In her own quiet way, I felt like she told me that I was doing something right and really improving. That just kept me beaming all night. 


  1. Alright! I'm glad you've been able to work through your issues with Bailey. It must be awesome to finally be jumping. I'm jealous... Izzy and I got to jump once, then the weather went bad again. Oh well.

  2. That sounds like a GREAT lesson and a lot of fun! It is great to see other people believing in holding off the jumping until you are in control enough to not blast around at 100+ :D Keep us updated with all your awesome progress and keep riding. We will get through senior year - one way or another!