April 5, 2012

Someday I'm Going to Fall Off...Someday...

Today was the closest I've ever come to falling off of Connor. Today was the first time I rode a stop.  Today was the first time I rode a runout.  And today I learned that jumping a Welsh Cob is a whole other thing entirely from riding one.

The point of today's lesson was doing more of the same as last time, but adding a vertical bounce at the end of the line.  So after we warmed up, (and with some variations through the lesson) it more or less looked like ground pole -> crossrail -> ground pole -> crossrail -> bounce to vertical.  And when I say "vertical", I mean it started out basically as cavaletti and then was raised to maybe 18" if that.

I think he's past the "new and interesting" stage of jumping and is onto the "independently trying to see how I can get out of working" stage.  The whole time we were approaching the fence, I saw his ears locking onto things around the line instead of the line itself, and he usually tried to duck off to the side he was looking at.  I've only ridden been-there-done-that schoolies over fences before, so actually having to actively ride that much, and to stay one step ahead of him, was new over fences for me.  He was enjoying himself, and jumping with a determination that I loved, but was mischievously trying to get out of it in any way he could.

He'd drift and take the crossrail at the highest part.  He'd stop HARD and crouch like a cat and nearly send me over his head - all the while I'm laughing hysterically.  I'd find that terrifying on a big horse, but on him...I don't know, it's just not scary.  Of course, I then kicked him and made him walk over the fences...after I picked myself off of his neck.  I'm learning what the appropriate response is in each situation - I definitely did not know them at first, but she is teaching me.  He runs out, I turn him in a small circle in the opposite direction of the runout and then go back to the line.  He stops, we walk over.  He tries to drift, I stop him.

There were times that I'd feel him setting up for a drift and my brain just didn't get that information to my body quick enough, so things went south-er than they should have.  But the next time, I didn't let that happen, and that's why I'm ready for this green horse business.  Every lesson makes me a better rider.  And I keep telling myself that every stop or runout I reprimand is going to make him into a point-and-shoot horse...even though I think Cobs think too much to ever be point-and-shoot.

This is why I ride ponies.


  1. And that is why I plan to stick with dressage...hoping to never fall off :) Looking forward to jump pics, well any pics of Connor!

  2. Haha! Good for you for sticking! I finally fell off Charlie earlier this year and all I have to say is given the choice, I'd much rather fall off a pony. It was a lllloooonnnnngggggg way down...

  3. Good job! Persistence will pay off. And Kelly, jumping does not necessarily equal falling off and dressage not falling off. One time I had an amazing jump lesson then fell off my horse walking back up to the barn when he spooked and spun at something. Falls happen...

  4. I do have to say it's a pretty short fall, but then again, you have less time to organize yourself, so I've heard that it's a harder fall off of ponies - but that's not my experience! I came so close, I saw his front feet under him!

    Falls do happen, and so far, most of mine have been funny. I used to be so terrified of it until I got an appropriately sized and temperamented (new word!) horse for me, and now it's not scary anymore. I am still cautious and would rather stay on, though.