Jumping Solo

The rain cancelled my Monday lesson and there seemed to be no time to get another one scheduled. Trainer doesn’t teach on the weekends and Monday is really the only evening she teaches late enough for me to make it after work (I could do a Tuesday but that is my kickboxing night). With the only other Monday being Memorial Day, I was out of luck for one last lesson before the show. 

Wyatt loves coming and playing in the giant sand box

No worries though, the arena is always available and only 30 minutes away so Sunday I loaded up Gem and we headed out. There was someone else using the jump arena with jumps set at like 57′ (ok, really they were all set to 3’9″, but they might as well been set to 57′) and I was unsure what the etiquette in that situation was. She had just walked into the arena as I unloaded and I knew they probably wouldn’t be riding that long at that height. I decided to waste some time by practicing my braiding skills using the videos you guys so helpfully provided for me. Turns out I suck, so we will see what happens show day. I may lose my temper and roach her yet. 

By the time I was done fiddling with her mane, the lady was done riding. Out of curiosity what is the etiquette? I’m sure I can ride in there with her, it is public after all, but what about jump height? I’d think it would be rude to change them but there were a ton of jumps up and she had been using them all. Do people just wait until the other is done or do they take a few for their own use? 


I tacked up, thanked everything living and breathing that the 46″ girth fit her perfectly (thanks everyone for that suggestion!) and lowered everything to 1’9″ which was the lowest they went. 

Taking a good hard look but never stopping moving forward. I’ll take it.

I’m really trying to figure out a warm up and decided to work on what Dom commented about in my dressage post: brakes, rhythm, bend. I started with a bunch of halt transitions and guys she is really starting to get it! It is taking less and less to get her to halt and she is not moving until I ask. I was so happy. 

It wasn’t long until I asked her to trot and this time I worked on using my posting to send her forward and bring her back working on a square and using the long sides to send her out and short to bring her back. She was distracted by everything outside the ring, but listened well and so I asked her for some bend in a circle. That’s a work in progress, but going right is coming along nicely. 

After that it was time to jump. I gave the hubby my phone to take some pictures and I was off. My stomach only knotted a little as I made a crappy approach to the first jump, but I grabbed some good mane and kept my legs on. I also remembered how voice driven Gem is and I talked to her throughout telling her how good she was. 

Hubby is like the worst photographer ever. Enjoy his finger in nearly every frame.

We trotted everything and she never once refused, ran out or did anything bad. She wasn’t super locked on or pulling me to any jumps, but she wasn’t freaking out and trying to dodge them all either. 

It was amazing!!!!

It was also the exact thing I needed going into this weekend. It was a big confidence booster for me that she can go in and be sensible. I really have no clue where this new found calm mare came from but I adore it. I really feel like we are going places šŸ™‚

Her ears are forward!! Not back in me or grumpy. This is huge!!

I had wanted to work on our canter some, but she had been so good and it was about 9,000F out with 1000% humidity so I called it quits and bathed her instead. 

Post bath Gem is not a happy Gem

I am so excited for the weekend! Ride times come out Wednesday and then I’ll determine if I go the night before or not.

Me being super excited after we finished and she hadn’t touched a rail, backed off from a jump or run out one single time. Elated best describes it.

16 thoughts on “Jumping Solo”

  1. I love your smile in that last photo- it reminds me of your son!
    I think it was good for you to do this on your own- it will help your confidence and you have a sense of the warm up for the show. Don’t give up on the braiding- it has taken me a lot of practice to get it and it’s seldom perfect.

    I have no working knowledge of the etiquette but it seems to me that it should be okay for you to talk to the other rider and ask if you can lower a few of the jumps for your practice.

    It’s amazing to me that yuo have a facility like that that is open to the public!


    1. I always new the place was around but figured it was private. Then I started taking lessons there with Trainer and she told me that it is owned by the city. No clue why the city owns a horse facility. Anyway, she leases it out and runs the boarding there plus gives lessons but anyone can go and have use of it all. It’s pretty amazing.


  2. Yay you guys look fantastic! Nothing beats a good confidence building ride (esp done all by yourself!!) leading up to a show!! You guys are gonna be great!!

    Re: etiquette – I’m sure there are well established rules or whatever, but IMO the best course of action is always to just ask. Like, hey I’m gonna hack around in here while you ride – is that cool? Or do you mind if I set a fence or two to my height? same story goes for riding in company too – there are “customary rules” for passing left to left or whatever, but honestly I’ve had the best luck with just calling out to riders as I pass saying whether I’m passing them on the inside or outside or whatever, or like “hey I’m coming up behind you on your inside!” I find that a little communication goes a long way toward easy ring sharing!


    1. It was exactly what I needed!

      As for the ring, I figured communication is always best but I also didn’t know if even asking to take over a few jumps was completely wrong. I mean she was there first and put in the effort to set the jumps to her desired height and. I body jumps for that long at that height. In the end I wasted enough time it didn’t even matter. I think she rode for like 20 minutes.


  3. Aww. I’m so happy for you. I love that her ears are up and she is thinking and behaving and enjoying this job!


  4. Yay for a good jumping session! As long as the other rider isn’t taking a lesson, I would say it would be fine to ask if there would be some jumps that you could adjust. However, I would have done the exact same as you, puttered until the other lady was finished. That’s so great that you have access to that arena and all those jumps! It looks really nice and I’m jealous.


    1. It’s such a great facility! I felt awkward barging in on her ride. If there had been a ton of people riding I wouldn’t have cared as much but there was plenty for me to putter with and waste time


  5. Never hurts to ask, also you can definitely warm up in the same ring as another rider that is jumping, just pay attention and both of you should yell heads up.


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