August 17, 2015

The Plan

To keep being cute:

(He's tied to a ring in the wall, in case you were panicking.)

We had a fantastic flat lesson in jump tack on Thursday.  Start to finish, fabulous work from him.  At the end, I asked my trainer, "So about the show...if I look at work like what he just did, and I also consider that his last three Dressage scores are all under 30, it makes me want to just point him at a Dressage career for a while."

She agreed, but not for the same reasons.  She said she'd forgotten how frisky he's gotten at his last few XC schools (including the last one where he started out bucking so I had to gallop him until he showed signs of slowing, which was about 7-8 minutes), and said he was probably getting his sillies out (see also that rocket style Dressage ride an hour earlier), but he was also uncomfortable, since it was the chippier ones he bucked hardest at.  His jumps have always been uncomfortable for me to ride, and imagine how it feels for him.

Okay, this jump happened because the ground changed color 10 feet before the jump, but still.  A great example of "not comfortable."

She and I came to the same conclusion but from different angles.  Mine was "He's good at and apparently likes Dressage, so we should Dressage," and hers was "Dressage will strengthen his topline and improve his canter which will make his jumps more comfortable for both of them, so she should Dressage for a while."

We like Dressage.

I just feel like he's telling me "This is exciting, but a little much."  Starter definitely got boring for him, we're past that.  But BN right now is a coordination and confidence issue for him, yes, despite the fact that we have won a rated BN division.  I want more than winning for him.  I could leg this horse around an event next weekend and go double clear on XC (if there aren't any ditches) but it wouldn't be good.  I want it to be good, and I want him to eat it up and be confident about it.

From the JLC clinic.  I will admit to being vain about that tail.  That horse has better hair than I do.

So I'm backing off all events for the rest of the year unless he tells me he's ready.  I'm definitely doing the ISHA show just for fun (Welsh classes and $6 enter-10-minutes-before-the-gate classes?  Sign me up!)  We're going to take Dressage seriously, but not take anything else seriously right now, and then re-evaluate down the line.

My little buddy.


  1. Sounds like a good plan. Getting him stronger on the flat should definitely help you guys over fences. Share the exercises you guys work on with all of us :)

  2. Sounds like a great plan! Looking forward to watching your more dressage-intense journey<3

  3. Good plan! Because of Barry's age we flatted more often than jumped, but it helped his jumping greatly. You have time and the skill, so good time to work on strength. Seriously only $6, I wish. Ours are 3x that price just because we are gold level.

  4. FWIW, I don't think you'll regret this. Courage is scopey and talented, but you've seen how green he is to fences. We've worked our butts off at dressage this year and he is now FANTASTIC jumping from any distance at the trot, but still falls apart at the canter if he gets in a little funny. I'm basically not worrying about jumping for the rest of the year and just focusing on dressage to strengthen/improve his canter.

    I mean, I could jam him around. But. Why?

  5. Sounds like a great plan to build strength so that he can return to jumping with confidence. I also love reading about your dressage adventures!

  6. Playing in the sandbox won't hurt anything! Also I have major tail envy.

  7. makes sense for both of you. uncomfortable jumping really doesn't help anything and potentially makes it harder to fix over time. getting stronger and balanced on the flat can only help!

  8. You are an educated and insightful person, I don't doubt you are making the right decision for Connor.

  9. Gorgeous tail!! I'd be vain too.

    Sounds to me like you're making the right call for your horse, as you always do. Keep on keepin' on.

  10. More flatwork is never a bad answer!

  11. Do whatever feels right! Can't go wrong with more flat work! Maybe the jumping itch will come back next season and you'll find easier with all the dressage under your belt. Can't wait to hear about Connot strutting his stuff in the sandbox more often!!

  12. Good plan! All great jumping starts with solid flat work :)