Thursday, March 10, 2016

Long Time Coming

After all the talk of wanting to jump, I finally got in the ring and did something about it. I showed up at the barn after work hoping like hell no one else was using the arena. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and to my surprise none of the other boarders were around. 

First things first, prepare the ring. I made a five jump course with no idea of their exact height. The lowest was probably a 2 ft crossrail. The highest probably 2'9 vertical. All five were centered in the ring with no lines between fences. It took a small chunk of time to set up. The two high school girls leap over things but they never make a course, it's always just one lonely jump and some ground poles. It didn't take long for me to realize why. Our jumps suck. The standards are lightweight and wobbly, the poles are extra long and thick walled (meaning heavy), only four jump cups w/o pins. Crossrails were supported by oversized traffic cones instead of standards. 

Once I felt good about my jump course I grabbed Mr. Razz Man from the pasture and proceeded to de-fluff his coat for close to an hour, and afterward he still had the vast majority of winter fur intact. The ritual just doesn't seem to be very effective these days, even though proof that it is lies all over the barn aisle floor. I push the shed pile, large enough to make a few a guinea pigs, outside for the birds to use in their nests.

The arena was still empty when I made my way back to the top lot. I figured the high schoolers would be there by now. I carried my crop, cell phone, and generic GoPro up to the ring with me. Of course I was on a time schedule so the phone was there to help me keep track and I left it at the gate. I strategically placed the GoPro at an angle on the fence rail in front of my five obstacle mini-course. 

Warm up was nothing to write home about. I have always warmed all my horses up with a lap of walk , trot, and canter in each direction before continuing on with the rest of my ride. That just seems like the natural way to prepare their bodies for work. Pretty sure I'm gonna change that order with Razz from here on out. We will do a lap of walk in each direction and then go straight into canter. I know a lot of people employ this technique. It certainly helps my pony get his drive from behind. We circled and figured 8 until I knew his old man muscles were ready. Headed over to the fence rail, turned the camera on, and our jump school began.

I started with the crossrails first. There were two crossrail obstacles, both 2 feet tall, one regular and one with three wide set poles. The other three jumps were verticals, the wind blew the pole off one of those and I never got to jump it. I had no cups for that one and tried to tension set the pole between the standards. The pole stayed up, just not long enough. Razz had only one rub the entire time. It was on our first trip over the tallest vertical and it stayed up. He would get really hot between jumps and my arms felt like jello after our ride. His breathing never became labored and that made me extremely happy. The sweat though...all that damn winter coat and the sweat. With 45 minutes left at the barn I started cooling down. Turned my GoPro off because there was no reason to capture laps and laps of walk on the buckle.

Untacking went fast. Never enough time. The Toklat woolback pad I've been using since January works great. His back was nice and dry, and I've never seen this pad come off wet or even damp.  Highly recommend!! Broke out the shedding mitt and knocked off a bit more of that unnecessary fur before treating and putting him in his stall to wait for dinner.

Later that night I watched my video. We had 18 minutes of hard word in our jump school. Trot, canter and jumping with just a couple moments of walk break. Our trot after jumping looked amaze balls. I will be switching those rubber reins back for future jump schools. Maybe my arms won't have to work as hard with them. I still have those beautiful plaited reins on. Not conducive for work though, not with this horse. They give way too much. I may even have to look into another bit. Razz goes in a slow twist eggbutt and lately he's been running right through it. What needed the most work? I have to learn to see my distances. Razz chipped about 70% of the jumps.

I was excited to share my jumping session with all of you. And after I watched it once my dumbass wiped it off the sd card. This is the only flaw I've found with my off brand camera. The software is basic as hell. Three buttons to navigate thru the menu, none of which are labeled. You just have to learn and remember which one is froward, backward, and select. Leave it to me to not scroll properly and begin recording. Every time you begin recording this camera saves under the same file name. No date stamp to make it unique. So I recorded over my 17 minute jump school with 2 seconds of my lap sitting indian style on the bed. I could have bitten a nail in two. Or thrown the camera into the living room. Either would have been gratifying. 

So instead I have two pictures to share. One of Razz right before we started our ride. He was dozing.

And one after our ride. In this one silly boy is proclaiming his love for peppermints.

I will be filming all my jump schools. Eventually I won't be stupid and wipe them before I post them. If I learned anything at all, its to rename my files the moment I pop the card in my pc. And I need ground poles in front of my jumps.

How about you guys? Anyone have some good advice to help an inexperienced jumper rider & overconfident horse see their distance?


  1. That sounds wonderful!! Hopefully we will get to see the next one :) I am a super inexperienced jumper rider so I have words of wisdom. Right now I practice a lot of poles on the ground to train my eye for distance (so I can adjust my spicy horse without having to worry about my jumping position haha)

    1. Hi Kate! Yes poles are definitely the short term solution. Thanks for stopping by again.

  2. New to the blog... Do you have the ability to have any lessons? I would say the best thing for someone that is not experienced is to trot a lot of jumps. It will help you not rush the jumps and be patient. I also like placing poles before and after the jump to help the horses figure out where to put their feet.

    1. Hey there Hillary :) You are welcome here anytime!! I plan to get some instruction later this spring/ into summer. Currently I'm preoccupied with my daughter's schedule and can not dedicate to riding like I want. I will def try trotting over jumps more, and the ground poles too. They've helped me tremendously in the past.