October 28, 2014

Connor's in Charge

The strangest thing happened last night.

Connor and I were jumping amoeba-sized crossrails by ourselves.  I had just asked for more speed, but was jumping in his loose ring instead of his elevator (which was at home in my dishwasher...) so I wasn't able to get his pace back down before the next fence.  I saw a long spot coming and told him through my body language, "Alright, that's what we're getting here, go for the long spot."

But Connor said no.

He not only second guessed me, he flat told me, "I know better than you what needs to happen here," compressed his body, got his hind end from flat to engaged, and got the extra stride.

It was:
1) The right decision, actually.  I was wrong.
2) The first time he's ever made a decision completely without me like that.
3) Totally against his nature to choose the tight spot vs the long spot 6 months ago.

Parked while I set jumps.  As long as I park him where he can watch me, he doesn't move a foot.

He's so empowered over fences lately!  Probably because we are seriously focusing on jumping for the first time ever.  Lately, it's been 3:1 jump to Dressage lessons, where most of the past three years have been 1:3 jump to Dressage lessons.  It's paying off big time, as he appears to be thinking critically (as much as a horse can) about jumping, and stringing ideas together from one ride to another for the first time.

I almost wonder if our jump rides were too few and far between for him to put concepts together like this.  There's probably nothing to that theory, and even if there was, I don't care.  Dressage is always first priority for us, but having a jumping machine is pretty fun too.


  1. You totally need to paint amoebas on a set of jump rails.

  2. awesome - way to go Connor! it's definitely good to have a horse that can think for itself over fences (esp since it's guaranteed that i'll eventually make some critical mistake as a rider)

  3. Oh, how I love it when they really *KNOW* it! So cool!!

  4. I think probably combo of dressage teaching him how his body works and then the confidence over fences is where Connor is learning to be a Boss!

  5. Ooo, I know it's not great for your horse to ignore you... but it's great when your horse ignores you for a really good reason!

  6. So nice when they start to figure things out and take care of their rider!