Monday, 23 January 2012

Goodness Gracious!

Well, I don't know what sort of riding I did yesterday but it was RUBBISH!!!

We've been schooling all the time and then when it comes to the crunch, my brain goes into meltdown and I forget everything. Maybe I'm not meant to jump, probably best if that is left to the young who bounce well and the stupid, I mean "brave", lol.

Maybe it's just me that is stupid! I don't even have to watch the below videos to say what I did wrong.

The course at the Sunday clear round show was 8 jumps and they set it at 1'3"- which was fine, some may have even been 1'6" (ok, worrying a bit now but we did 1'9" the other week and we lived to tell the story) but then there was this FREAKIN' BIG GATE jump set at 2'!!! When I saw that, it crashed my fragile confidence and the day went down hill. Riding the course, my legs felt like jelly and Hattie sensed it and refused the gate. Then I decided to "grow some" and tried to ride her as forward and aggressively as I could just to get her over that blasted gated and Hattie did so, even if it was rather begrudgingly.

After that, my mind was in a panic and all the jumps became a blur and my equitation went out the window. the only thing that kept me on Hattie was the pommels and remembering to keep my RIGHT SHOULDER BACK as a few times I started to feel myself twist to the left. Whacking my shoulder back, yanked me back securely into position.

Dressage is so much more relaxing as I can take each movement as it comes, I have to remember to take each jump as it comes and not think of the whole thing as a course. I also have to learn to trust Hattie too as if you look at the videos, she did her auto lead changes and then I would annoyingly bring her back into trot to change her canter leads when she was already put herself on the correct lead.

After the first round, some people wanted the jumps lower and they got rid of the gate so I decided to try and end on a good note for my own sanity. My riding was still rubbish but the round a little less hairy. I forgot the course too.

The good thing about clear round shows is that they are low key and it's only yourself that you are competing against as if you go clear, you get a rosette, if not, then you had £5 worth of jumping a course and using it as schooling.

I think with some jumps like more imposing ones like that blasted gate, I need to ride more aggressively and break down the course into a series of one jumps each so I can plan how I'm going to ride each one. With jump no.s 3 and 6 (the one at the end of the ring on a tight turn), I should have collected a bit more, really looked, rib up, rode inside leg to outside hand and that would have helped us make the tight turn. All the other jumps were straight forward but it was 3 and 6 along with the gate that tested us!

I'm glad I did it though as I didn't come off and I was not the only one that day to have problems with that gate, quite a few horses refused or hesitated at it and at least I did it side saddle! Hear's to Hattie as well as she is such a good horse, she takes care of me and gets me out of tricky spots even when I don't know what the heck I'm doing.

Us after our rounds with my looking exhausted yet relieved!
Do you like my braids? I didn't do my signature 21 braids but instead did 12. I just can't do just 9 braids like the showing judge told me to, Hattie just has too much mane and they would look big and lumpy so I just "compromised".


  1. My horse used to refuse jumps all the time when I was competing. At least you still look stylish with being side saddle! I am sure it will all come together soon!

  2. You did well Leila. Competitions are stressful, and your horse can feel it, in addition to the new environment and new horses around. It's way more complicated than to be working at home. You will get better at jumping and competition with practice...
    Patience, and you will both enjoy it soon!

  3. Hi, I've been following your blog for a month or two, and I felt I had to comment on this one.

    You're doing quite well, but I've observed something about the way your Hattie jumps that would worry me if I were riding her. She doesn't pick up her feet properly in the back when she goes over. I know I'm not an aside rider, I ride astride, but I think the hazards of jumping are probably the same for all riders, and that foot-dangling fault is one of the scariest I see in jumping horses. Even with collapsible/frangible jumps, that can get you into a lot of trouble, as it can cause her to stumble.

    I think the low height isn't making Hattie put any effort in, but that shouldn't matter, she should lift her feet properly for every jumping effort. Is there any way you can have a more confident jumper school her over larger jumps to force her to learn to bascule and tuck her feet properly? I really don't want to see either of you come to grief because she stumbled over a jump.

  4. Hi Sharon, no you are right. She is lazy when it comes to the low jumps, she doesn't respect them at all and she jumps better over the larger jumps (i.e. over 1'). I find she also does it when I don't drive her forward enough. Unfortunately, I don't ever want to jump high and have no intention of ever doing xc or hunting- dressage and hacking is our thing. None of my friends jump either. These clear round shows are only a treat to break the tedium of dressage and to stop me from getting to be too much of a chicken. :-)

    1. I'm glad you're doing these shows for fun. There is a lot of value in varying your routine. It's good for the horse, and probably good for you, too. :-)

      Plus, I'm a jumping gal, and want everyone to try it at least once, so I love watching your clear round competitions. I also haven't ridden in a good long while (almost six years), and it's fun to live vicariously :-)

  5. You got flustered, yes, but it really wasn't that horrendous. :)

    And I would not be in the slightest concern regarding Hattie's jumping "style" in the video...she shouldn't have any style at that height, as she is only cantering over them, just like they were poles on the ground. If she was really showing "style" at less than 2' poles, then she would either be A) a really careful jumper at any height, or B) maxed out at that height. The first is good, but rare, and the second is not good at all. So a horse just cantering over that height of fences is not a problem at all.

    1. While normally I would agree, I hear her clunk her back hooves into most of the poles she canters over, which also tells me she's not lifting her feet very much just for cantering along.

      In a dressage horse, this highlights a problem. If she's not lifting her feet, she's not working off her hindquarters, which means she's working front to back, not back to front like classical dressage would have you do. When a horse is working front to back, they're on their forehand, and they'll have trouble with straightness (you said you were having trouble with this before, I think, Leila?)

      To get her off her forehand and onto her hindquarters, lots of half-halts and some good, tightly spaced, raised walking poles will really force her to concentrate on her feet and get her to pick them up. Think of it as baby gymnastic-jumping for the horse on the flat. You'll know when she's thinking hard about it, she'll tell you by dropping her head, and her nose should get close to the vertical.

    2. My instructor Lili has been helping me get her off the forehand and in our last lesson, Hattie was brilliant with a lovely rolling canter and forward trot. We've been doing that while we have been schooling but it all went to pot that day, lol. I need to get some more poles as I would like to try that exercise!

  6. I am most impressed, I have been following your progress and you have improved so much. I have taken up side saddle myself and can't imagine myself ever being able to jump! But I said that about cantering so who knows!! Keep on going you have inspired me. Thanks

  7. i think the refusal began right at the corner, before you even approached the jump. it you were nervous that will be what caused it, however, you sat tight and looked secure in your position, so thats really good. I do wonder myself if I don't like to do something why do it? just a thought.
    looking at the other responses -could you lunge her over some bigget jumps? thats what i do with my horse as i don't like jumping over 2 t 6 to 2ft 9.

  8. Was something bothering Hattie? She seems to be wringing her tail quite a bit and doesn't want to use her back much.

    Those things like gates and painted walls tend to be more imposing to the riders than the horses.

    But you both look lovely, and your turnout is quite nice.

  9. Jumping is a love/hate relationship with me. I love the rush but hate jumping the height. It was that big gate that made me nervous as I was happy to jump all the other fences. I agree, Hattie's refusal of that jump started before it when she broke out of canter and into trot. She sensed my hesitation.

    Hattie has started to work from her back, Lili showed me how to do it and it's been coming along but for some reason (probably my fault), she would not do it that day- that flustered me as well as we had been schooling well that week. My hip had and has been killing me so she probably picked up on my pain as well and the tail swishy thing, was probably my whip. She gets ticklish and swishes her tail HARD if I let it rest on her too far back. Lili is always telling me off about that.

    It's not a problem with Hattie jumping that height of fence, it's me! Herself or with a competent rider on her back, she would have done it just fine, it's just me wimping out. :(

  10. it is not easy, at least you dont just plop of the side like me ha ha! your position looks quite strong, you just need to be more comfident in your ability!

    1. LOL, I've done my fair share of "plopping off the side" and had a brokwn rib to prove it. I think it's the fear of breaking ANOTHER rib and the sleepless nights that ensue that keeps me on the saddle! :p