Mudmaggedon and Jumping Confidence

Hi everyone. Down at the farm we are SWAMPED in mud. I feel like I am spending my life cleaning my muddy horses. All of which are grey or white. Jazz is the only one with a colour and other than grey/white and he’s the cleanest anyway. But we are surviving. I think we are in the second half of winter now as January is speeding by us. We always say down on our yard that if you can survive winter and cope with the horses being extra fizzy on extra food, extra muddy, extra energetic with whatever they are doing and if you can cope with whatever less desirable behaviour comes out of them then you can do anything!

So far I am pleased to report my horses have been ok this winter. It is much easier to look ahead and see goals of Spring appear on the horizon. Knowing that the muddy season will come to a close, the world will warm up for a while and most importantly, the Eventing season will begin makes all the work we do with them week in and week out worthwhile. Realistically, there is nothing I would rather be doing anyway.

Storm had a brilliant lesson last Friday. We finally felt like we turned that corner with our schooling work. He just felt like after 18 months of me having him, he really felt like a dressage horse. I hope this new wave of understanding and the collaborative effort between my teachers, myself and the pony all stayed together now that we have got ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ is.

For my own confidence I am trying to jump one of the ponies at least once a week. I need to get used to getting my eye back in and feeling in control and enjoying it. Because as soon as I start jumping I love it. I love the adrenaline rush and the feeling it gives me. I love riding over fences. So far, I feel I am riding well and trying my best to progress and push myself a little bit further week on week, month on month. Just start pushing the goalposts away. Or in this case; up. So finding my comfortable top end height higher than it has been for a long time. 1.10 should be my new attainable upper height to aim for and try. I am now relatively comfortable and better at riding at a 1.00m fence. My issue is I tend to freeze and hold them, hold them, hold them until they are buried in the bottom of the fence. In reality I need to kick on and push up and over to gain some power to jump a bigger fence. Whenever I do this I have a really successful jump and I love it. But it is something I need to train myself to do as I have done facing 1.00 metre fences.

Still, I think of my confidence like an elastic band. Stretch it to its limit after building up to its maximum stretch. Then bounce back and jump a more comfortable, smaller height the next few jumping times before stretching back up to a higher fence again. It’s my theory and I feel like it works for me. I want to challenge myself. I could just stay jumping smaller courses and fences at home and at shows or even stick to BE80’s but I want to push on through to get braver and bolder to see how far I can push myself and take myself. All whilst trying to do credit to my lovely horses.

On the subject of jumping, I did in fact jump Jazz today and he is just getting better and better. Today I rode him much better than previous attempts and actually squeezed him forwards rather than settling with him into his natural, lovely jumping canter rhythm. When I squeezed him and asked for extra energy – boy, oh boy, did he give it some. He really feels like he could jump much, much bigger than I am asking of him right now. Today we topped it at 1.00m. A couple of successful, straight jumps over the upright at that heights and I was finished. The more his schooling improves, the better and better he will be. Brilliant horse!

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Jazzy being all cutie on the lunge and wanting to stay in the middle to get out of going in circles. 

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Jazzy J showing how talented he is and hitching up his knees over some jumps today. It’s his favourite thing. 

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Storm displaying the mud we are dealing with at the farm in all its glory… Roll on drier fields and Springtime!

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