Horse Life

Making Things Happen

Something that’s been beat into me over and over the last 6 months was “go faster than you want to,” and “get straight and increase to the fence every time.” The reasons were twofold: 1) Get forward momentum to each fence so P would be less likely to slam to a stop, and 2) keep leg on to support him to and over the fence.

See, I would have P crawling along like a western pleasure horse because I was so insecure as it was, and the fact that P would stop at EVERYTHING didn’t exactly have me thrilled to add speed to his already athletic sliding stops.

Always a good time
A more gentle refusal on his part. Sometimes those were the most frustrating because I could feel those coming and he was just blatantly ignoring me
He teaches you to keep your shoulders back, that’s for sure
When Trainer B took one for the team and I was incredibly happy that I wasn’t riding

But…I pushed out of my comfort zone and pretty soon we were zooming around. Zooming for us, I mean. Definitely not going to be winning any speed rounds. Which I’m totally fine with.

After failing this longish one-stride a gazillion times because of a lack of forwardness

And even did our first BN. First completed one, at least.

Like when we KILLED it our first BN πŸ™‚

But of course there are always things to work on. We have a mean right drift, for starters.

Like almost missing jumps



Or knocking them down


Which, after watching the helmet cam from the first BN a jillion times, I’m pretty sure I’ve pinpointed the cause.


I figured it was lower body imbalance on my part….specifically my once-broken left ankle that was causing me to shift my weight in such a way that P would go to the right. But after many jumps of me solely being conscious of the weight in my heels/seat, I determined (because I’m a pro) that wasn’t it. What is it then? Well, based on the angle of the helmet cam from the BN XC, I then hypothesized that I’m STARING at the right side of each jump. Presumably because I’m aware of the right drift and want to make sure we don’t MISS the jump, but by staring at it, I’m causing P to go there. He’s uber sensitive like that.

My poor, long suffering horse.

So after warming up/working on those stupid downward transitions, we finally nailed a canter to trot transition and got to the fun stuff.


Look at that seamless transition between canter and trot. Now to replicate it when it counts…


So then we went to jumping, popping over a little vertical over and over and over, only looking at the left side/standard. And guess what? No more right drift.





giphy.gifSo then it was time to change it up because P can’t drill anything for too long. So we (re: Husband) hiked the jumps up to 2’6″-2’11” and did a little course of 7 jumps. And P was just perfect. Media fail here…for some reason my phone’s camera was super blurry throughout most of it, but the final jump (2’11” gate) was in focus, at least. Stupid iPhone.

giphy.gifAnyway, when I watched it back I was horrified. Look at how P is CRAWLING to the jump. Is he hesitating like he’s going to stop? No. Would he have every reason to? Yes.

I can’t win

So yesterday I went out and set up a grid. 3 trot poles spaced 4′ apart, then 10′ to a cross-rail, 18′ to the next x-rail/vertical, then 21′ to a larger vertical. I built it one element at a time, ending with an x-rail to a 2′ vertical to a 2’6″ vertical. I specifically put the 21′ in because that would be just slightly long for P, forcing me to press him forward.

The first time through, I just sat there and did nothing, causing a chip to both verticals and P graciously saved us. Then I had a little pep talk with myself- if I don’t get it together, P’s going to start stopping again and I won’t be able to even be mad at him for it.

So we went back through while recalling a specific lesson where we went through a grid and I repeatedly botched the strides in between fences.

And the ensuing words, “Push your body away from him while pressing your hands towards him.”


Which, well, works.


And whaddya know? Perfect. After raising the fences and repeating a few more times, I called it quits.







Trot-Crossrail-Vertical-Vertical. I totally nailed it this time.


That was all I really wanted to do, particularly since I was a jump crew of 1. Pilgrim was NO HELP AT ALL.


It was the perfect way to get me back to thinking forward.

And now it’s going to rain AAALLLLL day so P gets today off.

If you can share any good exercises, please do so!


15 thoughts on “Making Things Happen”

  1. This is great! My trainer always tells me I should be going faster than I am comfortable with as well. And as much as I hate it, she is always right. I am hoping June has such an uphill, balanced canter with a huge stride that I won’t have to worry about this. But… at least I’ll be prepared if she doesn’t lol


  2. I really need to start doing exercises like this. I’m soooo lazy when it comes to setting up jumps though. I’m really really bad at it. I just go with whatever jumps are set up already in the arena. I need to try to actually do more with what is available to me. It’s hard on the weekdays because I have little light but I can make it work on a weekend day someday.


  3. This is great! Love the grids! Looks like he’s getting to be a pro at it now! I love how you sound so cavalier at the jumps being 2’11” πŸ˜‰ He’s such a good boy! Yeah I reaffirmed my “look where you want to go not where you want to miss” lesson a bit ago when I was watching these two girls who were cantering on opposite circles, and they just kept staring at each other, and no joke their horses smacked into each other, then bucked and both girls got bucked off. It was definitely a “keep your eyes up!” moment for me haha. Loving the helmet cam! Also, you rock at trot jumps. Seriously.


  4. i love these exercises and will use them with my Moo over the break before the comps next year.
    I love how you rode that line, it was awesome!
    Mel x


  5. Zoom Zoom P πŸ˜‰ and damn that warm Florida sun for taking Trainer B away! But at least you have so many great videos of him yelling at you to remind you how to ride πŸ™‚


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