January 21, 2013

Team Cob Jockey

In showing at Training level for the first time, we rode a Dressage test sanctioned by the USEF instead of the USDF for the first time, and the USEF test includes a category in collective marks that the USDF tests did not have: harmony.  It was in this category that we received my favorite mark of the day: a 7.0 with the comment: "Nice team!"

Maybe I am a bit biased, but we really are turning into a nice team.  In the last few months, we've developed the language required to speak to each other.  I learned I needed to speak more insistently, he learned how to sort through the stimulation around him (including his own feet) and focus on me.  Now that we are speaking, we are working through new skills faster than ever and are approaching jumps as a unified team rather than as two animals silently hoping they are enough on the same page to collectively survive to the other side of the fence.

I allow for (but don't enable!) his neuroses about people walking straight up to him and being caught in the field (I still have to catch him like I'm about to touch a wild mustang for the first time, but hey, he's catchable), and he takes care of me on XC.  I put him in manageable situations in which he is nervous and has to rely on me, and am rewarded with a pony that's getting braver and more confident in me as a leader all the time.  Just today I rode him down the tree line across the road bareback with his cooler flapping around us in the stiff wind, him as high as a kite.  I can't think of a single horse in my past that I would have done that with, but I feel like I am wired into his brain to the point that I can anticipate and mitigate what he's going to spook at, and then tell him he's a brave pony for trusting me enough to face his fears without spooking.  Facing him without overfacing him - that's how he's going to learn.

I love this little guy, and really can't wait to school XC on him now that he's grown up and we're so on the same page.  Team Cob Jockey!


  1. I also felt some serious pony love for Houston today! It is so nice when it all comes together and feels like you're moving forward!

  2. Adorable picture and congrats on becoming a team. :)

  3. Love that feeling that you have, you and him have such a strong bond and that is clearly seen. The picture shows that! Congratulations on such good marks :D