Pick Up Dem Knees

Ever since I first got Gus, I have lamented that he is not a “natural” jumper the way Dandy is. I’m not saying that he can’t jump, because he certainly can.

But he is not very good at it. Instead of naturally sitting back and keeping his haunches under him to push, he likes to throw his shoulders over and drag himself across the fence. This frustrates me because it’s not fun to ride and (obviously the most important) it looks ugly in pictures. I go through hundreds of photos trying to find just one semi decent picture of him jumping.

Jumping this way is also very dangerous which is the main reason I am trying so hard to teach Gus that this is not the appropriate way to jump.

Some of the problem has been me. With my confidence issues and bad equitation, I have been encouraging Gus to throw himself at the fences because I am throwing myself at the fence. Some of it is his own natural tendencies to be cautious which leads to hesitations at the base when his forward momentum is hard to stop. And some of it has just been that these smaller fences don’t really impress him.

It has not been an easy process. But thankfully I am now riding with Super Trainer, LT, and we are finally getting somewhere.

Last night’s lesson was the best Gus has ever jumped. The jumps were small (can’t remember the last time I wanted them raised!) and we focused on me compressing his stride and keeping his weight rocked back. When I did that, the shoulders stayed up. Granted, I’m at a place in my riding now where I can actually do that but it felt wonderful.

Gus will never ever be a hunter. He doesn’t snap up his knees as tight and cleanly as he should and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to solve that completely. At least now I can keep his shoulders up and with a lot of grid work, I think I can get the knees a bit tighter too. I don’t expect him to be an upper level prospect though so I’ll take safe and cautious and willing while we tool around BN.

2015 The Event at Rebecca Farm – XC!!!

And now for the part we I have been waiting for! Dandy’s XC run from Rebecca. I haven’t seen him go since his first less than successful run at Aspen.

It was so great to see all the improvement. He’s clearly still a tough ride but at least now JLE can get him to rate enough that she’s able to string more than one fence together, lol. And when she lets him open up… zoom!

In other news, I have some fun stuff to share for Gus but I’m having real problems with my computer and photos right now. Hopefully I can get that fixed soon!

2015 The Event at Rebecca Farms – Ride Times

I can’t believe Rebecca Farms is this weekend! Where did the summer go? But ride times are up and you can follow along with Dandy’s adventures here. I’m so excited to see how he does! Last year, if you remember, he was fifth in a very competitive Novice division but Training is a whole new game.

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JLE also has Capato in the CCI3* so we are obviously cheering for her in that as well.

For all of you at Rebecca Farms this weekend, so jealous! I hope you have a great time!

New Bit

My trainer is a badass. Not only did she manage to win her division at Aspen Farms Horse Trial with a horse who had never gone advanced before, she was also recovering from food poisoning during Saturday’s XC run. Badass.

Dandy, on the other hand, is just an ass. After being so good for so long he decided that he just did not want to go forward and went straight up with JLE on Tuesday. JLE was not impressed. She was fine and she got all four feet back on the ground but she made him work for that little stunt. By the time she got off Dandy he was going nicely but he was also dripping sweat. There didn’t seem to be any reason for him to pull that kind of crap except that he just didn’t want to do what he was being asked. Jerk.

I got home from work on Tuesday and saw that Dandy’s new bit had come in (a 16mm double jointed loose ring). It’s all shiney and pretty and I can’t wait to use it!

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So of course I went out to the barn that night to put it on his bridle where I ran into JLE and was told the whole sorry saga. *sigh* There are two positives however: 1) that JLE was riding him, and she corrected it immediately and 2) that he is choosing this option less and less. Like I keep saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I have to be happy with baby steps.

The next day I did, however, get a text saying that Dandy was the best he had ever been and that he seems to love the new bit. That or he’s feeling really guilty about being an ass.