Thursday, August 16, 2012

3'9" & Reinless (though, not at the same time..)

Might as well start with a pic of the fun stuff...
 The last couple of days have seen some fabulous rides on the big mare.  My vet was out on Tuesday for a check in on my hoof trimming (post on that to come) as well as do some routine body work on the mare and the pup.

Nothing super interesting to report, but the vet saw some tension in Prairie's neck/shoulder connection which is primarily a result of her tugging on the reins and me tugging back.


Riding sans reins and a few gallop sessions to open her up and get her range of motion used.  

Awesome.  Two things that absolutely terrify me with miss llama-neck-gallop-monster.  But the things we do for the love of our animals...

So yesterday S accompanied me to the round pen where she helped support the mare with a lunge line while I tied my reins in a knot and let go.


There was some scooting and booting and scampering around, but eventually the mare steadied and calmed down.  In theory we were supposed to work 1) on me and my posture (arms up! arms out! no stirrups!) and 2) try to get the mare tuned in to my seat aids a bit more.

The first goal was fine after P2 realized my arms we're not monsters swooping down from the sky and the second goal was... well - not so good.  I ended up getting REALLY frustrated that I was squeezing (and squeezing and SQUEEZING) with all my might - yet no half halt would slow the beast.

It was like as soon as I dropped the reins, Prairie decided that there was no occasion (whatsoever) to pay attention to the wiggling person on her back.

At all.

She finally tuned in a little bit, but I was still frustrated so instead of cooling out around the property I headed for the indoor and kept trying to work our walk/halt/walks on a totally loose rein.

Turns out with the lunge line off Prairie thought it reasonable to turn her attention toward me again and she did much, much better than in the roundpen.  So much so that we moved up to a trot and worked some walk/trot/walk/trot/halt/trot/halt sequences.  Finally I was feeling ballsy so I dropped the reins and went some some walk/canter transitions and eventually worked a big figure eight with a simple change through the walk in the middle.

She was a gem with that so we quit and I felt like we had actually gotten somewhere.  As a reward I hosed off all the sweat and took her out for some good hand grazing.
in love again.

This morning, we pulled out the jump tack for a change of pace.  I also swapped bridles to the latest contribution from Supermom's collection.  Supermom (I guess she's more of Prairie's SuperAunt) paid a visit and brought a ba-zillion goodies.  tack, supplements, some MTG.... it was like Christmas at my house.  And lord knows I'm about the least patient person ever when it comes to waiting to play with new toys.

You may remember a while back when Supermom brought up Pia's momma's halter and bridle for P to use.  Well, the bridle was a gorgeous Jerry's Harness with white padding that looks just smashing on the P.  As it turns out Supermom also has a dark brown version that won't fit any of the arabs so she brought it (and all it's accompanying pieces) up so P1 can have some jump tack of her own when she gets home.

Being impatient I thought I'd see if it fit the big mare, and it does!  Plus it looks fabulous. The leather is incredible and the dark, rich colors suit Prairie's coat in a flattering manner.
New Outfit!!
I threw the twisted full cheek on (the bit we last used at the baby hunter show) and hopped on to warm up.

Or I almost did.

S had dragged out the liverpool so I spent a few moments letting Prairie sniff it and explore and walk back and forth over it a few times.

Once we were unimpressed with the blue tarpy thing, I hopped on and started warming up.

We started the lesson by trotting up the centerline and over the liverpool.  Then we cantered it, then we added a small jump over it.

Then we raised the cups.

Then we raised them some more

Then we dragged the liverpool out front for some more width.

Then we raised the cups again.

And finally we ended up with this monster thing that really didn't feel very big under the big mare.
(I know I already used this pic, but it's my only one)


Oh.  And the mare had about one pound of pressure in each rein.  She was so tuned in to my legs and seat that she stayed right with me and was 10x more adjustable in the canter than she's ever been.

Heck yes bitches!!!

(It was a really fabulous ride).

To the Mare's credit I hardly had to do much.  She stayed balanced and pretty much found her own distances.  The only thing I really needed reminding on was to keep her engine revved up coming out of the turn.

My inclination with Prairie is to hold her in a little, tiny, baby lope and then by the time she strings out at bit we still have a manageable canter.

Having a larger fence to jump made it easier for me to feel comfortable putting some gas in the tank and moving her up.

Man she was good. There was no hint of her inverted, rushing llama impression on takeoff or landing and I could bring her right back to a walk just closing my fingers and sitting up.

It was rad.

She felt... dare I say it... Scopey??

I was pretty thrilled. I haven't jumped anything over 3' since high school - though I can easily say that 3'9" is pushing the edge of Type 1 & Type 2 fun at the moment.  The jump itself felt small and P2 had more than enough power to jump cleanly from every distance I dumped her at, but eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.

It did tick closer to Type 1 fun after several successful attempts (balanced approach, balanced jump, brakes after...) so the adrenaline junky in me isn't completely dead after all....



  1. I now feel like I need to send this post to my trainer and balls up, we've jumped big and we've jumped liverpools, but we havent done THAT...stay tuned ;)

  2. Dayum, girl, that's awesome! So jealous. I wanna jump 3'9...

    So what are you going to do with this newfound jumping ability of P2's? Cause, uh, 4' is like just 3 inches away, and there are some nice jumper classes that top out at 4'. Just sayin'!

  3. I haven't done anything larger than 2', so kudos to you and P2! Sounds like you both nailed the 3'9", and I must now live vicariously through you. :)

  4. omg lovely!!! and where can I find a supermom for myself??? Praire must be enormous cuz she makes the 3'9 jump look tiny!! rock it girl!! hope to see more of this!!! and next time VIDEO pleasssssse!!!!

    1. She is in fact - mostly a brontosaurus and makes pretty much everything looks small (barns, me, other respectably sized horses...)

      And yes. If I had any clue that's what we were going to do I guarantee we would have had some video set up :)

  5. holy SHIT!!! I am so impressed!!! do it again and get video, STAT!

  6. You are boss!!! That is a big ol jump!!! You go girl!!

    Looks like the Miss loves to jump! :)

  7. Sounds like you are having a great time with P2! Love the versatility training and the gutsy rider. You go girl!

  8. Awesome!!! I've decided your mare is just about the coolest big black horse ever.

  9. Awesome!!!!! Sounds like sooo much fun! I want to do that (although I'd probably chicken out since the highest I've ever jumped is two foot lol). :D

    I want to see video too!

  10. For the record I am SUPER impressed... that jump makes me nervous just looking at it. You're killing it!


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