Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jumping with Gerbils

A while back Supermom referred to one of her own horses as "having gerbils" whenever they were acting like a tweedle.  Sometimes the gerbils are sleeping (relaxed happy horse).  Sometimes the gerbils are stirring about (scooty/spooky horse) and sometimes the gerbils are throwing a kegger (LOONY TOONES HORSE).

Today, they gerbils might not have been having a kegger, but they most certainly were at least having a dinner party.

Holy. Lord. Mare.

I've got to find a way to exterminate the gerbils...

Anyway, I knew the gerbils were out when I arrived at the barn to my Big Huge Warmblood, doing her best Purebred Arab impression.  This involves floaty trotting, a llama neck, snorty nostrils and a completely flagged/inverted tail.


She calmed down while we groomed but the sparkly in her eye was still shining bright.. When I got on, she held it together.  A nice, relaxed, light on the aids warmup including some shoulder-in with her on her butt and some lovely transition work.

Just about the time we started popping over some low jumps, the gerbils popped some celebratory champagne and my nice soft lovely horse left me.

I suppose in fairness she only left me whenever we jumped the dreaded flower pots.  The gate, fine.  The flower boxes - also fine.  but the pots, oh the POTS!  Not to be tolerated.  It didn't matter if we were going away, or going home.  The Pots always landed us moderately inverted and in full scoot. 

This made me irrationally angry since there was no scooting or llama-ing to be seen with the other jumps.  It's like she can only hold it together in Hunter mode for 66% of the time.  The crazy has to come out somewhere and today it was whenever we saw the Pots.

S finally made me start throwing in rollbacks off the Flower Pot jump (both ways) and employing a pulley rein if she was blowing me off and headed for the fence line.

This freaks me out a teensy bit because when P2 is scooting away a Pulley Rein always feels like it's just going to flop her down on her side.  Cognitively I know it won't (I also know I'm not hauling on her that hard), but my physical reaction is to clamp up and think "OH SHIT we're GOING DOWN."

To S's credit, we did not, in fact, go down.  And after a few loops over the Flower Pots, the Gerbils finished their champagne and went off for an after dinner nap leaving us to a few slightly cleaner looking fences.

Here's a quick video (although the glare is bad).  S was trying to yell at me and video with the phone so the framing isn't perfect, but you'll get the idea.

I do appreciate small clips like this.  We're by no means calm and collected, but I swear the ride felt about a millions times worse than this.  (at least a million).

The good news is that when she tunes back in, our canter is consistently better balanced and nice and light.  She's not staying heavy in my hands forever.  That's a huge improvement.

Now I just need to evict those damn gerbils...


  1. Time for some pest control? She looks lovely, and has come quite a long way for a horse who's still quite new to jumping. It'll be fun to see pictures from the hunter show!

  2. Gerbils, huh? Hahaha!

    She's really doing well for a horse that hasn't jumped much, and you're doing great for not having jumped for a while!

  3. Gerbils are the worst. I think Cuna borrowed some of them today. We spooked at birds!! Who ever heard of such a thing?

  4. Gerbils! LOL! You both are doing a great job. She was scooting, but you totally have it under control now. Just remember when she was full out bolting. You have come a long way with her in a short time. :)


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