Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Before I even get started, a quick bit of level setting.

I have not done any type of equitation since 2005.  I have been an eventer on a bundle of TNT for several years.  In the past two years, I've been focused almost completely on dressage.  This post includes video of me jumping, focusing on my position.  I love constructive criticism, but anyone getting out of line will be told to bugger off.  My horse is not abused, I am not incompetent, I do not need to quit, I do have a clue, I have a great trainer that works with me a lot, and I will not give Theo to you because you think he clearly needs a better rider that can bring out his full potential and that beautiful savior is you.

Or, worse yet, I will give him to you, may the gods have mercy on your soul.

Get it?  Got it.  Good.

So I told Trainer A that I wanted to do some h/j stuff this summer since I'm the lone dressage warrrior at the barn and it seems silly to try to design a lot of campaigning around me, myself, and I.  She agreed whole heartedly, said she'd bring Miss Thang out to keep us company, and then gave my legs a look.  You know the look.  The one the trainer gives you when you know you just signed up for a lot of pain.  Because if I'm going to compete in that ring, we have work to do.

Ladies, gentlemen, and noble beings regardless of gender, I am going back to basics.  And it SUCKS.  Because after two years of enjoying jumping as my time off where having fun safely is the only goal, I've picked up some nasty habits.  These are piled on top of issues I picked up while in survival mode with Fi.  I only share these videos because I am an honest person and I see no reason to hide my flaws.  We all have them.  A month without lessons and almost two weeks off really didn't help me, either.  We were not gelling particularly well today, though Theo was his usual saint over fences.  Love, love, love this horse.  I'm up there doing the hokey pokey while figuring out how to ride like I've got a clue and he just keeps jumping.

So here they are, videos of Theo and I doing three bounces from the trot.

Trainer A took video since I'm such a visual learner.  And I have been directed to watch these and figure out what I need to do to fix my situation.  The upside is that I used to teach h/j kids, so when I see my goofy behavior, I can pretty quickly see where I need to make adjustments.

Point one, I needed shorter stirrups.  I actually shortened my stirrups up by a hole after these were taken and it did help with me snapping about like a poorly trained seal.  My battery died so we didn't get those passes.

Point two, I need to jump without stirrups.  My leg is weak and swinging.  While I've done lots of no stirrup work, most of it's been with a dressage mind set.  I haven't jumped without stirrups in a good long time.  I don't post without stirrups much due to my hip making weird sounds, but it's been good lately.  I must be getting stronger on that hip, so time to embrace my h/j roots and ditch my stirrups over fences.  I clearly have the horse for it.  Can you believe he's like this in the dead of winter?

Point three, I need to relearn what to do with my hands.  Because seriously, I was trying all sorts of crap up there.  Some of the passes are good and I don't touch his mouth, but I need to relearn how to make it smooth.  I need to jump without reins as well as jump without stirrups.

Point four, hours of half seat.  The muscles have atrophied. 

I am now doing what I should have done as an eventer:  learning to ride in two distinct ways and do them both correctly.  If I'm going to play in both arenas and be fair to my horse, I need to be able to jack up my stirrups and jump in a balanced way, then drop them down and really sit for the questions on the flat.  So Trainer A is signing me up for a course of jumping boot camp as well as keeping us honest on our dressage progress.  My pattern of two lessons a week is getting locked down and the intensity of my jumping lesson is about to get ramped up.  Not for Theo, he's already a saint.  Just for me.

I'm starting to think I really am a masochist.  Nothing else would explain my continued decisions to pursue things that I know are going to suck.  Half seat with no stirrups?  I'll be sleeping on the couch on the ground floor.


  1. Haha - you look pretty good for all that level-setting! Theo is super cute and I love him

  2. Lol I'm impressed that you chose bounces as a way to benchmark where things are at with the position. I never know wtf to do with my body in bounces lol (tho my trainer is a major fan of compressed one strides). All the same I think you and Theo look great!

  3. Bounces are hard! But yeah a great way to focus in on your position. I focus a lot on equitation and I still have so many flaws and bounces are still hard for me :D

  4. It's crazy how different the muscle sets you use between the two disciplines are. I haven't ridden in my dressage saddle for a couple months, even for flat only, and my legs feel so much stronger while my core is slowly like, byeee.

  5. It's pretty tough to go from dressaging all (well 90%) of the time to jumping seriously! You'd think they'd be similar enough being that they both require being on a horse, but the way you use your seat and balance and muscles and everything is so different. You'll get the hang of it again though! Your improved on each pass in just one lesson, so I can't wait to see what you guys look like after some bootcamp.