Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Annie Goes Jumping


It seems like once a year, in February or March, Show Buddy and I make plans to ride together at the local indoor. I hadn't realized it before, but it seems to have turned into a tradition of sorts. Typically, Show Buddy and I ride together at shows and clear round/percentage days - we also tend to watch eachothers lessons when possible - but planned riding time often goes by the wayside, especially with my hectic schedule and the living distance between us (50 minutes).

The fun days we spend riding together are always warmly welcome, especially to get rid of the left-over winter doldrums (especially this year!). A big part of me is wanting to push myself to ride with Show Buddy more in these "no pressure" situations. We had always talked about trail riding together and I'd like to make that a reality this year, hectic schedules be damned!

Now, onto the fun:

I am loving the reach she gets with that hind leg.
I just need to learn to sit the fuck down.
After work on Saturday, I had the Boyfriend check over the horse trailer for me - I had done a complete once-over prior to hauling Annie to Barn C in January (including tightening lug-nuts and inflating tires), but still wanted the Boy to take a double check considering the snow had caused some damage to the lights (the top lights on the trailer actually got knocked off due to the weight of the snow). I have since ordered new parts for the lights, but the functionality of the trailer was not compromised.

Sunday morning I was up long before my alarm, but ended up getting myself together at a glacial pace. It didn't help the truck needed gas, so by the time I was hitched and on the road to the barn, I was already behind. When I finally arrived, I packed up the essentials and tossed all my tack in the truck so it would warm up a bit vs sitting in the trailer and staying cold.

Annie was pretty good - she danced around a little bit and I just waited her out (about 5 minutes) before loading her. She gets quite anxious when she sees the trailer - she'll snort and blow hard, but still gets in quietly for me. She usually will "tap dance" in place as I get her tied and her hay bag sorted out. Although she will eat treats from my hand, she refuses to eat hay. I still stick the net in there just in case, as part of me hopes she gets the hang of it soon and relaxes enough to try picking out a few nibbles. I imagine the lasting damage of our Trailer Issue is still prominent in her brain, which will take years of good experiences to erase/diminish.

She jumped some of them with... erm... enthusiasm.
We finally hit the road around 10am, which was about an hour later than I wanted, and I texted Show Buddy to let her know I'd be there soon (her horse needed a ride). We pulled up to Barn C almost 50 minutes later and Show Buddy's horse, Riley, loaded up like a champ and we were officially off to the indoor!

Annie was good to tack, and scarfed down some hay while Show Buddy and I set up some jumps. It didn't take long before I threw a leg over and started our warm-up. Annie felt a bit "up" during the first few strides of walk, so I quickly went to work bending and asking her to yield. She immediately softened and quietly went around the ring. Even as Show Buddy lunged Riley and he did his most impressive display of aerial acrobatics. Before riding, I had chose to wear a very small set of POW spurs, as the previous ones I wore in my last Trainer K lesson seemed too big/bulky for me and I worried I would accidentally poke Annie at the wrong time. The small spurs proved to be a good choice, as I had to really concentrate my efforts to put them against Annie's sides. Otherwise, I just used my leg as per usual. Once we started to jump, I did take them off though.
I almost peed myself doing the oxer.
The video makes the picture look a lot nicer than I rode it lol
The warm up went really well. Her trot felt swingy and open, she was relaxed into the bridle and was responding well to my cues. We went into canter on her right lead and she gave me two wrong leads in a row. I responded by giving her a correction with the spur and asked again - she gave me the correct lead this time and I praised her. For her left lead, she picked up the wrong lead once and I ended up changing direction to make it work. After that, she picked up the leads just fine on her left side.

She felt a lot more balanced and rhythmic than she has in a long time - still falling out in her shoulder, but I just floated the reins at her and went into a half-seat for most of the cantering. It was a nice feeling and even Show Buddy remarked how relaxed and quiet Annie seemed. Her tail hardly swished and she felt as if she could've quietly bounded around in the canter for a long time.

This is what an uncertain rider looks like... haha.
Sorry Annie!
The jumping went equally as well and I was happy to see that Annie had learned to pick her up feet (#jumpinggodzilla2017). She picked up a rolling canter after each and every jump, and even ended up getting a little.... hot as we progressed through the exercises. I insisted trot approaching each jump, and mare insisted we GO FAST NOW. It led to a few halt/rein-backs as well as taking a break to just trot around and beside the jumps. It didn't take long for her to get her brain back in it's bucket and we carried on with some lovely work. She had attempted several times to pop into a canter and even sneakily threw in a stride or two of canter at the base of a few jumps. I don't necessarily mind it, but the exercise we were doing was about trotting, not cantering. She eventually got her way when she cantered nicely for me, and I continued on to another jump. Good girl.

I did have a few boo-boos, mostly where Annie ran out on the second fence of a line. In my defense, Show Buddy set the jumps too goddamn high and I was secretly relieved when Annie did a polite detour around the second jump, which happened to be a vertical that made me want to pee myself. I chose to take the two "scary" jumps as single fences instead and Annie did really well with that. Gymnastics and lines make me nervous, and looking back I wished I had asked to have them lowered so I could have had Annie go through them more successfully.

Annie says: "Just sit there, I'll do it."
I did eventually grow a set of Lady Balls and successfully do the x-rail to yellow vertical line and was very proud of myself. Annie didn't duck out at all and I knew a lot of it was rider error. The previous time I had done that line, I buried my hands into her mane and just sat there as the jump came closer and literally said out-loud, "Oh no. No.. nO... NO." Annie responded by politely cantering off to the left and around the jump. Because, you know, steering your horse is beneficial in between jumps. However, when I remembered to actually ride my horse we had fun. We even cantered a bunch of fences and did a few little courses.

The afternoon was really fun - I enjoyed my horse and found that she seemed to have a passion for jumping sticks. I need to work on my position a bit tho, because I find myself being tossed forwards slightly on the landing side of the jump, typically 1-2 strides afterwards. Thank god Annie is so honest and let me push myself back up using her neck a few times. It's a bit embarrassing, as the jumps weren't even that big, but I guess my balance leaves much to be desired.



When we were finished riding, we turned the horses loose in the arena to roll. Annie surprised me by hunkering down to roll and then popping up like a literal Jack in the Box and throwing one of the biggest fucking bucks I've ever seen. She proceeded to gallop around and buck and kick and squeal.

Uh, thanks for not doing that undersaddle?

She went down a few more times to roll - I bet the sand felt good - and galloped around a bit more. I haven't ever witnessed her playing before, but she seemed to have a good time ripping around. I imagine it felt good to stretch her legs, as the horses have very limited pasture space due to all the snow.

Leaving the indoor I had to reinstall a few manners into Annie because Show Buddy left to load Riley and Annie was Forever Alone and Sad. Once she had a Come to Jesus meeting she settled and loaded quietly when I brought her around to the trailer. She was slightly dancey when we dropped Riley off and called out to him a few times, but seemed to keep her skull firmly atop her head. The haul home was fine and she unloaded great as well.

All in all, a very successful outing. The last time I truly "rode" Annie was exactly a month ago and her ability to keep a mostly level head when I throw all kinds of new things at her makes me excited for the future. For now, I am just enjoying the ride and am enjoying figuring out all the little nuances about her, because even a year later, I'm still figuring her out. Counting this ride, this was ride #4 over jumps!

A good bean!

20 comments:

  1. Weeee!! You guys look great and Annie clearly enjoys jumping :D

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    1. She really seemed to enjoy herself, that's for sure!

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  2. I love these photos. You two are going to have the best year!

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  3. Oooh these gifs remind me SO MUCH of a horse in my lesson groups - talented little jumper who seems to find it pretty easy, but just needs confidence and support from his rider. And they have had a BLAST getting him started jumping. Sounds like you and Annie had a great day!

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    1. Eeeee!! Exciting!

      Hopefully the monkey on her back gets with the program sooner rather than later, lol!

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  4. Great fun! I predict a great year for you and Annie with lots of rides and jumps and good times.

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    1. Thank you :) And I think we will have an awesome year together!!

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  5. Sounds like fun! So nice to have a riding buddy to do these things with. Annie looks like she's having a blast!

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    1. She is the best riding buddy <3

      And yes, Annie had a lot of fun as well!!

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  6. yay for fun times riding with friends. And Annie looks fab!! And so do you (don't sell yourself short it has been a LONG ASS WINTER!) keep on doing what you are doing. And I think you need to ride with Show Buddy there again soon. Nice place ;)

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    1. Riding with friends is the best :)

      Haha. Thank you for the encouragement!! I felt like a sack of potatoes up there - poor mare!!

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  7. She looks so fierce! Sounds like such a great day out!

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    1. Oh, she had a few moments of "Just sit there and I'mma jomp the jomps, Mom."

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  8. Look at you two! You look so awesome together and Annie's expression is so happy and focused.

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    1. Thank you so much! She feels so much more relaxed!

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  9. She can get pretty cute with her knees!

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