Mary Boot Camp for Connor

Aunt Mary
"He knows he needs to get over the fence, but he's not sure what to do with his feet to get there."

I've written about my friend Mary before.  If it weren't for her indisputable need for good health insurance, she'd be an equine professional.  She's a naturally talented rider with great feel who takes instruction well, pays attention to detail and works really hard, endearing her to every trainer she rides with.

She got on Connor for the first time in nearly two years this week, and became the first person other than me to jump him.  I knew she would feel things I couldn't as a novice jumper, and when she said he didn't know where to put his feet on takeoff, I had an 'Aha!' moment.  He never stops,  but there's always a moment of hesitation at the base of a fence, like "I'm taking this jump?" instead of "I'm taking this jump!"

"I mean, he's a Cob, bred to pull with his front end, the idea of both of his front feet being off the ground has to be pretty unnerving for him."

So while I've been at my desk job this week, Mary has been spending time at my barn and teaching my pony where his feet are over fences.  This has involved, at times, a stick, 20 feet of poles, really small jumps, and lots of praise when he got through anything without touching it.  Here's every jump attempt they had from Tuesday, the first time she jumped him (don't judge Mary's position - this was definitely not an eq ride!):



She used a stick slightly before takeoff here.

No idea where to put his feet.

This was our "good pony" fence for the day, and where we quit.
Two days later, after two days of Mary training, this happened in my lesson:

PROGRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But that's a story for another post. :-)

12 comments:

  1. Good boy! That's awesome. And I love the new header.

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    1. Thank you! I told my husband the photo he took on his one and only visit to the barn is my new header, trying to encourage him to come again - hasn't worked so far.

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  2. Ooooooo! I think I want to ride with Aunt Mary, too!! =D

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    1. Haha, you do, she is seriously amazing and I am lucky to have her as a friend.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! Embarrassingly, I thought I followed your blog weeks ago but hadn't, so I did today. You have a new follower!

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  4. Yeah! I love talented friends. So glad she is able to help you guys along. LOVE that last pic--he looks amazing.

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    1. Thanks! Everything Mary touches turns to gold, seriously.

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  5. I love the Cob expressions. Their faces tell the whole stories. They take all you teach and they think about it, so when you ride again they are better.
    And tell Mary, considering everything she looks great ;)

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    1. I didn't put up the bucks she rode on the other side of the fence after she hit him, he launched it, and she stuck it. Haha. I know you would enjoy those too. He definitely is a sleep-on-it kind of guy

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  6. Love love love the new header pic! Very nice.

    And what a great progress post! He (like Hue) will figure it out :) - hopefully hue can take a note from connors book on snappier knees!

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you like it, especially since my husband took it on his one and only visit to the barn. Trying to pass the praise along to him so he'll come visit more often, haha.

      I have learned a lot about teaching better knees lately. I didn't realize it was something that could be taught to the extent that it can. Passing on good snappy knee vibes to Hue!

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