So my favorite person Sarah has had a bit of a riding tumble and broken her hand- just as she was bringing her horse out of stall rest and into his rehab program! So happy thoughts for her from the horse world, please – she needs and deserves them as she heals.
In the past few weeks since Ollie’s and my first BN, I feel like we’ve been riding a high. All the jumps look…. smaller, I daresay. And ball mass is at an all-time high. SO much so that I will be doing some jumper classes at the HJ Fox show in Conyers this weekend, and I AM THINKING ABOUT MAYBE entering the 2’9″ class. If the 2’5″ and 2’7″ ones go well. IF IF IF. For now, I’m not going to think about it and will aim to just have fun. You might remember that this is the same show where Ollie’s saddle took a vacation on his belly in the warm-up, and then I had the most awkward 2’1″ jumper round ever. It’s fun to think about how much more ball fluff I’ve acquired since then. Yet, I’m still wearing the same breeches. I think I deserve some new ones.
Anyway, so the past few weeks have been great. Had a good dressage lesson the week after the show where we worked a lot on OH MY GOD, BEND, OLLIE. He was being so stubborn – as draft crosses can be – about bending left. He basically was giving us the finger.
We worked him in small circles starting at the walk, then trot, and he was still resisting like crazy. Nicky finally told me to walk over beside her. She PHYSICALLY PUSHED ON HIS SHOULDER to make him bend and he still was all whaaaaa?? Did you say something? He eventually got it, but Jesus, I think we both needed a massage after that lesson. He made us both work hard. And when we were done, I was instructed to immediately, do not pass go, do not collect $200, but order some longer spurs. Done!
We’ve been doing a good amount of gridwork too – it’s been awesome! Ollie used to duck out left out of Every. Single. Grid. that we ever used to do. This time, we started walking and trotting over poles. Then to a couple crossrails. Then verticals, then verticals and an oxer, and then bounces. Ollie went through them like a goddamn champ. He was so good! Felt so good that we attempted this- a 2’8″ish skinny chevron.
I admit I was a little freaked out at first- we haven’t done many skinnies, and I didn’t know how he’d react to this type of jump. But we trotted in, and he was so happy to do it. We did it again the next week, and he put HIMSELF into a canter for it and again sailed over it like a champ.
Our jump lesson this past weekend was more gridwork. I had to be reminded yet again that OH MY GOD WENDY GO STRAIGHT AND DON’T BULGE INTO YOUR TURNS. I need to remember to ride every stride. But Ollie did the grid awesomely again, and he started to get more and more forward as the lesson went on. We started incorporating the grid into a course, and Ollie was trying to get a bit strong and on his forehand….he was blowing through half halts like hookers on blow. I gave up a few times, ended up fetaling and having us take rails, but I eventually made Ollie comply and got him to just freaking listen. When I say Christ, Ollie, get back on your ass, I mean it! I just need to make sure that he knows I really mean it Every. Time.
And once again, because I like for my big mouth to get us into trouble, made the mistake of telling Nicky that Ollie had been a snot with the little grid of three skinnies we had attempted the week or so before. We hadn’t had enough impulsion to get through it as a bounce when we trotted in, so I had it put down as two ground poles and one vertical just to get him through- and he STILL tried to slam on the brakes on the first freaking pole. SNOT BUCKET. He was just being a jerk at that point, but I eventually got him through. So, because I told Nicky about it, that meant we had to incorporate the skinnies into the course. THANKS. I APPRECIATE IT.
So it was set up like this – a one-stride of small skinnies, and then I believe two strides on a bending line to the brick arches.
This was a BIG challenge for us steering-wise. Ollie has not historically been known to have the quickest reactions, and quite frankly, neither have I. We started out trotting the skinnies alone back and forth – we did it. Ollie thought about being a bit swervy going in a few times, but he listened! So then it was time to add in the brick arches. Doing this made me absolutely abandon my bad habit of falling forward after a jump, going into la-la land for a few strides and forgetting how to ride. Because, really – there was no option other than to SIT THE FUCK UP AND RIDE LIKE I MEANT IT. Or else we were going to crash into a standard.
Much to my complete and utter shock, we managed to do it on the first try. And then again. And then again as part of a course! Eventually, Ollie wanted to canter into them, so I let him on the last stride or two. We were rocking. But by the second time Ollie did that complete course, he was thinking, “K, I know what we’re doing. Just lemme do my thing on my forehand and OH MY GOD, WATCH ME FLY!” He was cantering like a real jumper with some real power. So, to keep him on his toes, we changed up the course to make sure he was still paying attention. I again allowed him to be on his forehand a bit too much and he was flat and stupid over a jump or two. When we had our do-over of that jump, I didn’t give up, forced the issue and got that butt back under him. So well, in fact, that when he went over the jump? ROUNDER THAN J-LO’S ASS. I swear to god. It was with such roundness that it quite honestly got me a bit discombobulated over and afterwards. I need to get that lower leg stronger if he’s going to jump with better form!
So, the progress continues, as does the ball fluff. I’m very much looking forward to our jumper rounds this weekend and seeing how we do. Holy crap, I just said looking forward to a show. This is unlike me.
So to close, I will end with how I found Ollie when I recently went to get him.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he popped out a top board and got himself stuck. Despite the fact he’s jumped bigger than what he got stuck over, he wouldn’t move backward or forward to get himself out. He just stood there as if saying, “I have made a miscalculation. I will calmly wait for help.” So he did – we popped out the middle board, and he calmly trotted off and then waited for me to retrieve him. Sillly, silly boy.