Once upon a time, I was an instructor at a hunter/jumper barn. I taught a lot of beginners and nervous adults how to jump. When the kids would see me ride, they almost always would ask 'how do you jump those big jumps?'. My standard answer was 'Jumping anything between two foot and three foot is the same ride. It's not until you get over three foot that anything changes'. Of course, I was referring to 3'6", since that was the world of jumpers and we didn't have heights like 2'11", 3'3", and 3'7". But I find that it still holds true. Your ride doesn't change until you hit about 3'3"-3'6", depending on the horse. Some horses start to really jump earlier than others.
Fi and I have started to cross over into that world. Our trainer has started to put the fences up into the training realm.
That's a triple bar as the second half of this four stride line, set right around Training height. The first jump was an oxer, coming off of the rail and heading across the diagonal of the ring. Fi offered to do the line in three, but added the fourth stride when I insisted that she did NOT need to take a flier to that triple bar. We also had a bending four stride line from a vertical to a corner and a complete one eighty turn after the vertical set up at the end of the ring.
This lesson was about getting it done, not about it being pretty. At some point, the princess has to be flustered and has to push through it or she won't grow. I need to stop going 'oh no, she can't do that yet' and just get'er done. The corners were difficult, the ride wasn't smooth, but we left the rails in the cups and made the course happen. After that, any Novice course will be a walk in the park. Which is kind of the point.
I got the green light today to enter the T/N division at the Labor Day three-phase my barn hosts. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Princess and I are looking at moving up once again. And just when everyone was thinking we were going to become dressage queens.
Cautiously, oh so cautiously, I'm starting to hope. Maybe even plan. Summer of 2013 could find us moving up to Training. An awfully long way for the mare that was declared dangerous to jump less than two years ago.