Riding/Horses

In Which Gem Redeems Herself Yet Again

Sunday was a whole other story and this folks is why I keep my Gemmie around. Well, that and nobody else would want her and I’d never forgive myself if she ended up in an auction or feed lot.

Anyway….

After a ridiculously disgusting Saturday (seriously weather yo-yoing from 79 Friday to 45 and raining Saturday then back to 75 and sunny Sunday is ridiculous. Take your meds please) Sunday dawned gorgeous. Just that morning I saw that RB is hosting a spring H/J show March 10 and I plan to be there so it was time to get jumping.

Nap time. Sunny 75 and with a gentle breeze. Had me wishing I had a hammock so I could join in. 

With my new found bravery, I set the jumps at 2′ verticals and set three in a generous circle with two on the long side and one set perpendicular on the short side.  I really like this placement for Gem. It allows me room for my newbie errors which avoids me inadvertently punishing Gem, but still keeps me honest and steering. By having it on such a large circle, it forces me to ride her straight away from the jump and then set up my turn which helps fight my really bad habit of only riding up to a fence and then leaving Gem hanging on the backside with no directions.

The third jump is just off screen against the far fence line and just in front of the near fence. 

Gem came out well behaved and listening. Sure she still wanted to go faster than I did, but she actually listened to my half halts and would slow down for multiple strides at a time. It felt good and rideable on the flat so I proceeded to the jumps and went right to start.

Gem was amazing. She locked on, never said no or tried to run out and while it wasn’t always pretty going over she did try her best.

After the first two jumps I settled myself and really focused hard on my own position. I paid attention to sitting back before the jump instead of leaning forward (a very bad habit I do for fear of not getting into two point fast enough once she does jump), sinking those heels down, shoving my butt back (while I two point nicely on the flat it goes out the window in favor of standing in the stirrups over jumps which isn’t good) and grabbing that neck strap. It felt good to know she was going over so I could focus on myself.

I had a creeper the entire time I rode. Now that the horses are out in the  big pasture, they have access right up to the arena gate. There is a back entrance right off the barn which avoids entering or exiting via the horse pasture. But it does allow little creepers to stand and stare hard at me the entire time. Thanks for the judgement Nash!

After a few go rounds of doing each fence individually I focused on doing all three in a row with the turns. Going right she nailed it every time, coming back to the trot between fences so we could make the turn. I praised that crap out of her each time, loudly telling her how amazing she was and giving her great big pats.

I may have over done it because it definitely went to her head. Shortly thereafter she began celebrating after each jump and began to get a bit harder to get under control on the back side.

After a really good go to the right where she hit every jump near perfectly, made the turns and listened I gave her a walk break. She was starting to have that sweaty horse smell to her and I wanted to reward her effort.

Then we went left and it wasn’t near as good. Left is her harder side as it is and by that point she was feeling pretty proud of herself which typically translates into her believing I am no longer necessary and that she has it from here. Plus she was also just about done with me.

She stayed with me going into the first jump but then took off after and it took me circling all the way back to the start to get her to trot again. Needless to say we didn’t make it over the other two fences that time.

We suck at selfies

The next time she listened well enough to make the turn to the center jump but then I lost her after when she yet again took off. I’m not ready to start getting after her after jumps since she is finally saying yes 90% of the time now. Instead I let her canter back to the start and tried again all the while praising her for saying yes and going over.

It took a few more attempts to get her over all three going to the left but once she did I quit for the day. I was really proud of her for going over, trying hard and the fact that the jumps were set at 2′. I was never brave enough to go that high before.

I texted Trainer and set up a jump lesson out at RB which will be the first time I’ve trailered there since early November or maybe late October. Its been a while. But I want to be able to work a more complicated course before we go to the jumper show there in March. My plan is to hit up as many classes as possible this time: cross rails through 2′ both the hunter and the jumper classes both to try and stave off boredom as well as to get us as many low key miles as I can. I really believe Gem actually deep down enjoys this jumping game after all. It gives her a purpose in the arena and I can really feel her start to understand and take to it. She gets super proud of herself once she completes a task she didn’t think she could and it is big confidence boost for us both.

Also, the month is coming up fast and I don’t have any hours entered for the volunteer challenge. It’s going to be an easy random drawing with no names in the invisible hat. If you’ve volunteered in February get those hours submitted!

16 thoughts on “In Which Gem Redeems Herself Yet Again”

  1. It is a good feeling when you have a better ride after a not so good one. I think it is good that you are not losing your temper or getting after her, just calmly circling around and trying again.
    She will realize there is nothing to worry about because of your calm demeanor! Also, sounds like a good plan to get another lesson under your belt before the show to boost both your confidence! 🙂

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  2. just gotta say…. that whole “jumping on a circle” thing is probably a little bit harder than you’re giving yourself credit for haha. i know you set a big circle, but they don’t call that exercise the circle of death for nothing! it’s awesome that Gemmie was so great through it too, tho understandable that one direction tends to be weaker than the other. also awesome that the height felt so comfortable!!! hope you guys have a blast at the upcoming lesson and show!

    and ps i should have some volunteer hours this weekend 😉

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    1. It’s getting better and better every time. I’m just so glad she is now saying yes. It may be a hesitant yes with a big hairy eyeball but she is going over. Which means we can now shift our focus to things other than “just get the darn mare over the fence”.

      Yay for hours!

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  3. I wish there was volunteering to be had! There’s not even events for me to help at until March and that’s at the expo nearby.

    I am jealous of your weather! It sounds like a great ride too.

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  4. Yay Gem!!!! Glad she’s saying yes more and more!!!! Good luck at RB!!!!

    Also I’ve already signed up for April volunteer hours so I will have a good day and a half to submit then (possibly more!) but it doesn’t help you fill the hat for Feb…

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  5. Pretty sure Amanda volunteered last weekend (#meastalkernoway) ha. I am so glad you had such a good ride, such pretty weather, such jumping etc (oh and the cutest creeper around, Nash)! I love how green your grass is getting. I wish I was there 🙂 HA!

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  6. Yes! Go, Gem! Do the thing willingly and be happy after.

    Positive rides after such hard ones are the greatest reward ever. I’m so glad you’re finding your groove at the farm with her. You’ll be competing at elementary in no time =)

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