Those were the first words out of Trainer B’s mouth when I arrived for my lesson last week.
Externally I probably (or maybe not) looked calm and cool as I replied, “Sure.”
And then may or may not have turned away to continue tacking up my horse and thought:
Disclaimer: I didn’t have a lot of time to edit and turn clips into gifs this time, so I’m just uploading the full videos Husband took. Bonus is you get to see lots of mistakes made by yours truly. Usually I cherry pick one or two particularly horrifying errors to for display.
It’s also super helpful for me to re-watch these to see what Trainer B sees and the corrections that follow.
In preparation for my arrival, Trainer B had littered the arena with things P had never seen before. The colorful cutouts in front of jumps (like the first jump in video 1 and the rainbow). The brick coop, the Liverpool under the crossrail, and the brick cut out in front of the flamingo jump- all newbies. And we ALL know by now what happens with P and new jumps…refusal city up in here.
But after Windridge , the ability to jump unfamiliar objects is definitely somewhere in there. So we put our collective (re: still very little) bravery to the test:
While it was literally a miracle that P jumped jump 1, Trainer B knocked me for not reacting quick enough- yes, the leg went on when I felt him hesitate, but not fast enough. I know P well enough by now that I shouldn’t be waiting for the hesitation before giving him a few taps.
So then it was time to put a small course together. I figured he’d definitely stop at the flamingo jump with the brick cut out and at the coop- you can’t see in the video, but it’s decorated pretty heavily in front.
Who is this horse and what have you done with Pilgrim? But seriously…I’ll take it! Though I got knocked for the right drift (what else is new) over the coop.
Then he sent us off to the rainbow. Both of us figured there’s no way in hell he won’t refuse at least once.
That was my favorite moment of the day, for sure.
Next we added in the one stride. The first jump was the lattice jump that he’s previously jumped many a time (and refused many a time) made into an oxer, and the second was the gate he’s, ya know, jumped successfully/refused a bunch.
Well, I could feel it coming but I doubt even more leg would’ve gotten him over. And neither Trainer B or I think it was the actual jumps that spooked him in this case, but rather he that P probably looked at the whole thing and just went, “Too much!” We haven’t done a lot of work on combinations, because really, the last few months have just been trying to get him to jump AT ALL, so that’s now the next progression.
So then we just worked on this combination for a bit, with the flamingo/brick jump to start to get P going. The one stride was set a bit long and I kept coming in with not enough energy. Skip to 2:35 if you want to see us actually get it right. Though if you do skip ahead, you’ll miss Husband’s new best friend. OMG GROSS.
All in all, it was one of my favorite lessons because you could see some definite progress from where we were just a few months ago. When we first started with Trainer B, P refused the first cross-rail he was presented with and would bolt before and after jumps. Last week he hopped around all sorts of things that he’d never seen before. Slowly but surely, the work is paying off.
Our next lessons, according to Trainer B, will be about getting him confident about in-and-outs and triple combinations. I’m excited that after so many months of just jumping all the things, we finally get to start working on real stuff.
On my part, there’s still a lack of trust in P that he’ll actually jump, so I tend to be way too conservative with my pace and approach. We have definitely made leaps and bounds from where we were, but it takes a few reminders from Trainer B each time to not only drive P forward, but also to keep him there and not die out. I’m sure he’s tired of repeating himself 12 billionty times, but I promise I’m trying.
It still takes all my willpower not to pick at him before a fence, but the proof is there: when I pick, he stops or gets a bad distance. When I make sure not to interfere, he’s much more likely to have a good jump.
Trainer B said my upper body and lower leg are much more solid. I can see in the videos that there’s still work to be done, but the progress is really there. Not to mention I feel so much more secure in the saddle. It’s definitely been a struggle on my part to not flop around anymore
While stopping SUCKS, at least he’s not dangerous or terrifying to ride anymore. P doesn’t bolt to or from fences (anymore), he doesn’t plow through jumps, he doesn’t buck, he doesn’t rear, he doesn’t spin…he comes to a (usually) gentle stop. Still not fun, though. When he does stop, I feel crushing disappointment. And sad? It’s weird.
P cares nothing about the height of the fences and can skip over 3’6″ without batting an eye. He DOES care (deeply) about what’s underneath and whether or not it’s going to eat him. This last month or so Trainer B has been purposely making things increasingly spooky, and so far, so good. So hopefully the fences can start to go up a bit (who is this person and why is she typing this…?) so that BN continues to look small and doable.
And I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE HE JUMPED THE RAINBOW!