Trainer J’s past words floated through my head the moment I did it. I could hear her anger. It was the only time she ever got annoyed with me. Or at least the only time she let it show. You’d think I would have learned but old habits die hard.
It’s a knee jerk reaction. My lizard brain thinks “Imminent death! Abort! Abort!” and next thing you know I am pulling my horse off the jump he locked on to.
Bam. I just taught him how to run out.
It took a long while to fix it again. He is a smart cookie. He learns everything the first time, good and bad.
I had set my jump circle too tight for my skill level. I couldn’t make the turn and knew I needed to make it more forgiving, so I hopped off and moved the center jump farther out creating a larger circle. Once I got back on he he got angry that he had to return to work and he lost his calm and cool work like attitude he had had from the very start of the ride.
So he was looking for a fight. He knows he won’t get out of it by squealing, curling behind the bit, or shaking his head. He barely even tries that anymore. Even after two full days off and a cold snap returning.
When I picked up the trot he was tense and tucked his chin to his chest but I ignored it and we went over the first vertical at the top left of the above picture heading right. Once he landed he took off. I had him semi steering and made the arc to the second jump but he sped up at the last minute and I knew it was going to be a launcher. I’m just starting to get comfortable cantering my jumps and I am not to a point where I have even the slightest idea how to get his canter more adjustable or fix the last minute super rush.
I should have sat back and let it happen. It’s only 2′. Let him figure out that that won’t work. At the last minute he veered slightly left and was heading towards the standard. A well timed left leg would have pushed him over and centered him on the jump to go over.
Except there was that “Abort! Abort! Death! Pain!” screaming inside my head and I pulled left off the jump instead of shoving him right with my left leg.
It wasn’t a true run out. Not that time. I had given him permission to say no at the last minute.
It took 45 minutes to convince him I didn’t mean it. The next time I went to jump he veered left and out of the jump.
Damn. I broke my horse.
I made him circle immediately all the while scolding myself pretty hard. Never teach your horse it is ok to say no to a jump. Never. Commit and go over or die trying. Well, maybe not that hard core, but you get the point.
I circled him tight and made him jump that jump and then he tried to barrel away again to avoid the next one but I got him under control and over we went. Jump three he ran out. I could feel it coming. I knew I needed more left leg. I didn’t pull him off but I didn’t stop it either.
Eventually I got my crap together and forced his butt over every jump every time. I dug my left leg in and over he went. We went around going left and once we did all three jumps in a row he got a break before we went right.
Only he smashed through a jump and I had to get off to fix it and then mount again. Once again he was angry we were not finished but I made it happen. It took only three or four attempts before we could canter around the circle over all three jumps without any issues and then I called it a day.
I’m really hoping I didn’t break him. I didn’t stop until I had fixed it but ugh. I knew not to do that. I knew it!!!!
Thankfully while he is wicked and smart and lazy he is also pretty forgiving and tries to give me what I want so fingers crossed this isn’t a new habit I’m going to be fighting for years to come.