Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Re-Post: Just Call Him Supa-Man!

The following was first published April 4, 2017. It's a fun throwback to when Charlie was first really learning to put course work together over fences. Meaning: I finally had to come to grips with actually properly jumping again! This is roughly 6 months into his training after coming off the track. 

Ok. Jump lesson media dump time. And a brief update on Charlie's jumping:

a) He knows how to jump now
b) He kinda likes it!
c) He thinks he's obvi the best at it
d) (He's not.... yet)
e) I'm still basically just clinging along for the ride

like so.
Also can we take a quick moment to celebrate Charlie's first jumping lesson EVER with no knocked down rails?? BOOM. Achievement unlocked!!

charlie y u so go downhill tho bro?
Nevermind that "no knocked rails" /= successful jumping haha. At least not in schooling.

It's cool tho. Developmentally speaking, Charlie continues to chug right on along. He just happens to be doing so now at a higher rate of speed than previously. Ya know. Like a race horse might reasonably do.

i don't ever care tho. <3 this canter forever.
As a rider, I'm still very much struggling with finding that balance between "letting him figure it out" and "doing my goddamn job."

believe it or not, this picture is a SOLID WIN. fugly? yes. winning? absolutely. that stride needed to fit. and? he made it fit. two weeks ago this would have been a crash. this week? #clearedit. next time tho... maybe i should plan a little further ahead, m'kay emma?
Because since he's not particularly schooled yet to niceties like contact or half halts or, idk, just general balance, the whole "doing my job" thing is actually typically a full body effort. As in, put my butt in the saddle, engage my core, lift and open my shoulders, sink into my heels... Ya know. The hallmarks of balanced riding? 

zomg go fast. or... ya know, sit up and put your ass in the saddle and try riding. just a thought!
But that's a pretty major seismic shift from my typical "just cruisin around in half seat!" mentality. And it means that when I should be engaging a full body half halt, I'm actually just standing up in the stirrups trying to make a pulley rein happen.

also pictured: a strong left drift, a left-behind rider, and an honest horse. and. some kneeeeees!!
The cool thing about this horse tho - and the reason I keep calling him "easy" even when he's generally quite a physical ride - is that when I actually do what I'm supposed to do? When I actually put myself in the right place to communicate clearly to him? He responds in kind. Every time.

aaaaand made it out alive
It's honestly pretty nice. Because as you'll see in the video - I'm basically getting tossed all over the goddamn place while we're jumping around. Most of the time, tho, I can recover in the first stride or so upon landing and ask him to go straight again (since.... well. we drift left always). And he just does.

Mostly tho our biggest issue right now is finding a balance. Which I must repeat to myself again and again does NOT mean just pull on the horse constantly (bc that's my undying habit, apparently).

ditto the above
It does mean keeping him from getting so strung out, tho. This horse... again, you'll see in the video - he really doesn't look fast. He doesn't even necessarily look strong (the key there is to look for the gaping mouth - I promise that's him pulling on me and not me pulling on him, pinkie swear!).

But he is seriously covering ground.

e for effort. also just in case you thought maybe i fixed my winging toes problem, nope!
I edited it out of the video bc ain't nobody got time for that, but there was MUCH circling in this lesson in between jumps. Again - mostly bc my own reaction time was a bit too slow. It was taking me too long to do something about his building pace.

not coincidentally, my position is maybe the best over his most boring jumps
I need to channel my erstwhile hunter princess and use my corners to balance, instead of bombing around the turns and obliviously thinking, "Hm wow I guess we're going kinda fast!"

as in.... not the above lol
Altho there's a weird sick twist to our crazy unbalanced motorcycle turns: last week Charlie did a fully auto (tho definitely late behind) L to R change. And this week did the same, but this time R to L. Booooom.

we'll take it tho!
I've never had a horse with auto changes before ever (Izzy had changes but not auto and I fail at coordination so I never even bothered trying). My inner nascent dressage rider is very wary of 'auto changes,' but dammit they are useful in jumping haha.

Anyway - whatever the case, watch the video above. It's a good one. I mean, it's not a demonstration of excellent technique by either horse or rider, but it's entertaining. And honestly I'm pretty freaking happy with how the horse is going.

There are things to fix in my own ride but I continue to be thrilled that he's progressing so quickly despite me - and still fully believe that he's going to be ready for bigger and badder jumps WAY before me lol (considering the 2'3 of some of these jumps absolutely met my current mental capacity, le sigh).

Do you ever get relieved when the horse can succeed despite your errors? Or when the horse feels more confident than you? I know many of you out there ride green horses and have been very responsible for instilling confidence in your mounts - but maybe there are some of you who also have your own confidence built up by the horse instead of vice versa? Or maybe it's a constant back and forth of building each other up?


  1. He has come a long way- even his muscling is so much better now.

    1. omgosh his whole body is so different now!! that's what i always find just so so striking whenever i look at these old pictures haha.

  2. I love looking back at this! They really learn to use their body as time goes on, don't they? It's so amazing to me how things evolve and it's sometimes hard to imagine the previous struggles

    1. definitely agreed - it's kinda crazy, really. like looking back on the earliest jumping posts, i chose this one bc on one hand, looking at it now all i see are my own riding mistakes. but realistically, at the time, this was really the turning point when charlie actually figured out how to jump and started really cantering all his jumps. and it was a really challenging transition haha - but still so exciting and fun!

  3. Awwww <3 You two have come a long way!

    1. ha thanks ;) i kinda love looking back at these older posts bc they really do help remind me of all the work that's gone into what a good boy charlie is today <3

  4. You both have come such a long way! So much to be proud of!

    1. thanks! i'm insanely proud of this big sweet horse haha. there was so much uncertainty esp in the early days, tho looking back on him now it's pretty easy to see what a class act he always was lol

  5. Replies
    1. i always forget how weedy he used to look too!

  6. Awww, it's fun looking back at how far they have come! This is just behind the stage Henry is at now. It's hard work!

    1. omgosh it was seriously a surprisingly hard phase in his training. like, on one hand it's like "ok yay we are doing the things now!" except.... the horse was still kinda seriously unpredictable and the whole pace and rhythm thing was not quite there, and it ended up being even harder than i expected! but fun ;)

  7. I love looking back and seeing the progress made! Sometimes we need that reminder! You guys have some so far!

    1. thanks! that's a huge reason i love having this blog -- it's really useful for me to keep perspective by looking back at the process as a whole!

  8. i like these little flashbacks - always good to remind yourself where you came from <3

  9. Sniff... Sniff, they grow up so fast!


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