Friday, April 12, 2024

jumping at Windurra

Happy Friday, guys! I gotta say.... Something has changed in me and my horsey habit over the last few years of Charlie's diminishing soundness and all my related anxieties.... 

she was a little sad about traveling solo after so many rides with buddies
I used to be such a planner, ya know? I used to obsess over constructing these lengthy imaginary chains of dominoes, where each individual ride was interrelated or interdependent with those that came before, and every step built logically into the next... 

but stayed sensible while everybody got ready all the same!
On one hand, that type of framing suits my personal tendency toward imposing order on an inherently chaotic world... Otoh, tho... Well. All it takes is one little domino going askew for the whole plan to get blown apart... Horses will be horses, right? 

And it turns out... I wasn't always super, uh, emotionally resilient in those moments. 

squad assembled!
I came to believe that this sorta external forced 'structure' on my riding habit was a big contributor overall to my anxieties. If every step relied on the steps before, and every ride was critical for accomplishing some future plan, suddenly you're kinda in this inescapable pressure trap, right?

dropping this link to full video here right up at the front
for anybody that just wants to skip ahead lol

Especially in the last few years with Charlie, recognizing that he couldn't really hold up to the heavy lesson schedule anyway, I tried to shift my focus to only really doing things I *wanted* to do. Prioritizing the 'gut check,' if you will. 

jumping little logs!
And I think that new perspective is kinda working well for Doozy!! Like, sure, I'm still a planner -- you sorta have to be when competition entries are due in advance and scheduling logistics are complicated when going places with friends and highly sought after coaches etc...

splish-splashing thru water!
But I dunno. Lately I feel a bit more... impulsive haha. And it's nice! When my friends mentioned they'd be going to a lesson at Windurra with Sally, and wondered if I was interested, my immediate response was, "um YES!"

more little logs! this time sideways!
And when Sally said she didn't have a group for me after 5pm, and asked if I'd be ok riding with my friends (who are doing N/T things), obvi that sounded great to me! 

oooh little black pipe!
I figured it was not going to be the easiest ride basically no matter what, right? But at least if I rode with my barn mates, I could probably grab a couple videos for them, and they'd likely be more sympathetic if we needed somebody to stand with us while others took their turns.

learning to be civil while our buddies came and went for their courses
My hope was basically to practice *existing* out in an open field while other horses galloped around jumping. And maybe to jump a few little jompies ourselves. Splash thru the water... and perhaps play with some little banks!

teeny up bank!
And yay! We did all those things!!

ermagerd teeny down bank!
Doozy's attachment to Rosette has grown significantly in recent months -- partly bc they've spent so much trailer time together (Hunt Club, in particular, really sealed the deal). And also partly bc their herd diminished after we laid to rest to two lovely senior matriarchs this winter -- the bay OTTB + pony dynamic duo you might remember from this post

what a good girl tho <3 her sassy side eye kills me lol
The attachment makes everything harder -- bc Doozy is so preoccupied with where she is in relation to Rosette that she's not always paying attention to the jumps. But, eh. No big deal.

not gonna lie, she was a tad unruly lol but so good
Sally's instruction was basically to... proceed. Eventually I'll be able to keep Doozy straight off my leg aids, but for now... The jumps are tiny, the horse is capable, proceed to the fences --- hold on and get there. Time and repetition will be the name of the game.

this fun little sequence from black pipe to up bank was too long for a gif but is in the video
Similarly, generally as soon as Doozy was presented to the fences she'd make a bid for it. And again, Sally said it's just kinda what it is for now. 

and then more little logs!!
The horse is keen and interested in the job, was happy and eager to get into the water and go up and down the little banks. Was only really squirrelly about the jumps bc she was just... generally being squirrelly lol... Plus, omg why are the tiniest log jumps always so skinny omg?! lol...

probably spent about equal time practicing in and out of the water too
But honestly I was still so pleased with the mare. Windurra isn't exactly the place to go for your green as grass horse, right? It's an incredible training facility and wonderfully presented for introducing more technical combinations and terrain questions with forgiving fences... 

There are better places for your sub-N horse + rider combinations, tho. Loch Moy, Fair Hill, Plantation... venues that actually have enough jumps for full elem and intro courses.

good girl, dooz
So ya know. I went into the lesson with fairly low expectations. Just get around, jump some jumps, have fun, be civilized. And we did it!! 

rewarded with trailer #snax
Sally reminded me to use all my available riding tools at an appropriate volume for Doozy to understand -- meaning that she's still too green for me to be really subtle. She doesn't know what she doesn't know, right? But overall, Sally was pretty happy with her too.

all in a day's work!
She's a brave bold little mare, and underneath all the sass and drama and sound effects (omg the whistling lol), she really does want to be a good girl. So we'll take it haha. And hopefully have many more opportunities in the near future to keep chipping away at it!

In the meantime, happy weekend, everybody!


  1. Looks like another great outing for you and Doozy. Very fun. And a gorgeous photo of you two wading into the water too!

    1. thank you! she really loved the water haha, i was almost afraid she was gonna drop down and wallow!

  2. " If every step relied on the steps before, and every ride was critical for accomplishing some future plan, suddenly you're kinda in this inescapable pressure trap, right?" I might just embroider this on a sample for my tack room. :D. There's a lot to be said for going and doing the thing without all of your ducks in a row.

    1. ha right??? we're a whole lot closer to "squirrels staging a rebellion" vs "ducks in a row" anyway, let's be real!

  3. You guys look great!! And OMG that grass makes me want to lay down and nap in it, how luxurious. I'm glad she handled solo trailering okay.

    1. the grass was so nice!! ground conditions are kinda perfect right now, actually --- we've had a ton of rain, but then also a lot of drying wind. doozy had basically perfect traction the whole ride, even being barefoot behind!

  4. This post really resonated with me. As a control freak, it has been really liberating to just sort of... go with the flow. Try things. Why not? And the advice about just proceeding? Gold. Great photos as always. What a fun day.

  5. I was ruminating on this more or less the other day. How I used to just go and do stuff. Want to show? Okay let's go this weekend! But now it's like I have to emotionally prepare for everything. And I kind of want to get back to the just go and do mentality.
    This sounds like a really great outing! Even if Doozy was a little distracted, you went and did all the things with great feedback from a trusted professional. All good things!


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