Thursday, July 12, 2012

Glorious Gridwork

After Prairie's lovely behavior at the show on Sunday, she got Monday off (save for that bodywork and trimming tutorial), a light hack on Tuesday including us heading out to the back fields, and the intention of not schooling "dressage" for the rest of the week in the name of mental fatigue.  

(I'm not sure basic transitions and 20 meter circles are exactly fatiguing, but I wanted to shake it up a bit)

That left us with the always entertaining option of setting some jumps.  Now, if you'll remember I've only jumped Prairie twice.  Once through a chute free, and once through a small grid with me clinging to her back.  Not exactly a wealth of experience, but both instances were fun, light and P2 seemed to be engaged.
P2 makes the jump look even smaller.. but it was a respectable fence!
While I swapped tack to S's jumping saddle (and our obviously necessary open fronts), S headed to the outdoor to set up a little grid for us.

She set a ground pole to a bounce to a one stride (the bounce is set at 12' btw, I measured Prairie's stride the other day using hoof prints from a gallop she had in her paddock... came in at a scary 26' from front leading leg to front leading leg.... which explains why I feel like we go so damn fast...)

Anyway,  Prairie was oddly not terrified of the magical moving standards (stationary standards are fine, but when being moved they transform into monsters), so I took that as a good sign of focus and rationality for our ride.  I weaved in and out of the standards, slowly starting to work the ground poles into our warmup and Prairie was extremely unimpressed.  Eventually S started putting poles up one at a time, which P2 always jumped first, then realized she could trot over without much effort...

I worked really hard on trying to stay tall (man, I want to duck down), and setting Prairie back on her butt going into the line.  Then I really tried to stay off her until we hit the other side.  We had a few times through where the mare got off balance, but she always corrected herself, and HOLY LORD that girl can jump.  There were a few times through where I'm pretty sure she nearly cleared the standards.  Her jump is a really big, fluid movement, but surprisingly easy to ride..  Something I appreciated since the the only time I've "jumped" in the last 7 years was that baby grid we did a while back... (in my mind I could still take down a prelim xc course, which is nothing short of self delusion)

One of our first few times through...

Here's one time through where I dropped her a bit over the first (baby) fence and she did a really good job of sitting back and pushing through.  I was grinning after that ride... felt like she could have propelled us over the moon...

Once the mare got her groove, we kept raising the rails and I focused more on using my weight to sit her back in the one stride.  P2 was a great girl, she was forward and interested to the line without rushing and listened pretty well to my half-halts setting her up.  I never once felt her waver or question herself and by the end she was confidently eating up that little 2'9" vertical at the end.

I don't have video of the final height for the line, but this was close and you can see, she's barely making an effort...

Of note is the fact that she didn't land and bolt away on the other side.  Also of note - I anticipated her being freaked out of the PVC poles and the noise the make when you bonk them - but the mare kept her head and never scooted away from me.  What a star.  I think she really enjoys the change in routine and having to be a bit more responsible for her body. 

One thing I became very aware of was my left stirrup leather pressing into my shin... while my right one didn't at all.  Since I'm pretty sure the saddle isn't built unevenly I think it's a giant flashing neon sign that my hips aren't exactly straight... darn it.  But it does stay consistent with the fact that my right leg has a habit of creeping back.. so I need to figure out how to straighten myself out.  I think my dressage saddle keeps me locked in a bit straighter but still doesn't fix it.  The more open seat on the CWD doesn't hold me in, which means that poor stirrup leather ends up showing me how twisted I am.


  1. So um, any chance P2 has a future as an event horse? ;)

  2. Oh my gosh I love your trainers laugh! Her enthusiasm must be contagious!

  3. She is so darn cute! And she handles that grid so well considering how much jumping experience she has.

  4. Awesome!!! That looks like so much fun!!! I don't know if I could do it though lol. I doubt I've ever jumped over two feet lol. It doesn't look huge when you're standing next to it, but it feels huge when you're going over it lol. Congrats on an amazing ride!


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