February 4, 2014

Team Practice #2: Lots of Technical Jumping, and 1st Liverpool

I often forget that when you're working with a green horse, you have to give them a different kind of ride.  Connor has now had three "didn't go over the fence"'s in the past nine months, and all three of them were runouts at skinnies because I didn't follow my trainer's wishes and cantered them instead of trotted them.

"He's the most green out of all the horses in here, you may want to trot that next time and give him a chance to process it,"

Connor napped HARD after team practice this week!
To be fair, our skinny is REALLY skinny.  Barely the width of a horse skinny, maaaaaybe-four-feet-but-probably-less-skinny.  And the jumps she set and the various courses she made out of them - a bounce on the short side of our small Dressage ring-sized indoor, an oxer with a barrel underneath, a liverpool (first time we jumped one and he was a rockstar, thankyouverymuch!) a bending line, and a line that included the skinny - were extremely technical, requiring us to plan ahead and achieve various types of canter at different places in the course.  That was the point of Sunday's team practice, to be technical and picky.

Did I mention we got surprise freezing rain Saturday night?  The horses had to be led down the slope in the morning, and some of them went down with splayed legs and big eyes like they couldn't understand why anyone would play such a cruel trick as to remove all traction from the world.  Then they got it together.

We miss you, frozen lake of an outdoor.  Six more inches of snow fell after this picture was taken.

Solid ice baby.

Connor ran out twice at the skinny, once on each course, once in each direction, and each time we took it slow the second time and he jumped it.  I have been lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that he's been locked on and game to every fence we jumped since the skinny on XC at Greater Dayton in May 2013, and wasn't being so much a pilot as a passenger.  Still green over some things.  Get it together, Cob Jockey.

Over the rest of it, I was pleased as punch.  He jumped from the very base of the liverpool like I asked, moved up when I asked, added a stride when I asked, jumped new and scary things like they were boring, and made me giggle when he jumped the oxer the first time like it was massive.  My trainer giggled at his hops, too.  Sometimes I think about how big 2'9 and 3'0 look from Connor's back, and sometimes I realize that I've probably felt what that type of effort feels like from him many times already, and it probably won't be that big of a deal when we get there.

Cathy Jones-Forsberg told us to work on lateral stuff and to jump a lot of things this winter.  After a practice like that, I am feeling pretty good about following her orders!


  1. Sounds like an awesome lesson! You need someone to take videos so we can have proof of Connor's awesomeness ;)

  2. Oh I agree videos would be great! :)

    Skinnies are so darn easy to run out on. I honestly think some horses just don't even get the question, I mean the obvious answer is to just go around the silly thing!

  3. Liverpools are so fun, I love when horses are slightly impressed by fences and give the huge effort :)

  4. dont worry about run outs, usually just means you dont have the right canter. Sounds like a fun lesson!