Riding/Horses

Exercise 3…Gem Shows Up To Play

Thursday night was the first time all week I could carve out time to ride after work. I had two goals for the ride: hold Gem more accountable and practice both bend and straightness, both things I got nailed on during the lesson.

Wags
Waggy looking down on her kingdom

Trainer basically had me doing exercise one for the lesson, so I looked up the third one to begin alternating with number two. It was the perfect post lesson exercise: a long figure eight over a single ground pole. Per the book, the goals are to ride the long diagonals straight, have bend through the arcs and hit the pole on an angle. This would meld everything from the lesson together nicely.

As for my primary goal, I’m very good at being super hard on myself when I ride. I’m constantly checking on my various body parts and internally chiding myself for letting my lower leg slip forward, white knuckling the reins, tilting forward etc…. The inside of my head isn’t the prettiest place at times. What I am bad at is doing the same for Gem. I should be making sure her body parts are doing what I ask. Instead I have a “good enough” approach. I wanted to go straight down a side and instead we weave. Good enough. I wanted to begin my circle here but overshot it. Good enough.

Wrong.

I’m tired of posting pics of a single lonely ground pole in the arena, so instead you get life pictures. Wyatt has become obsessed with fishing in the pond. 

It isn’t good enough. I need to hold Gem to doing the task at hand. So I entered this exercise determined to ride as deliberately as Trainer makes me in lessons.

I started it even in the warm up period before tackling the exercise. Instead of toodling around on Gem as I get myself under control, I immediately held her to walking a straight line. Instead of stuffing her into turns at the last minute because I forgot to plan ahead, I made sure each turn was thought out several strides out and ridden with purpose.

This down tree lives in one of the back pastures. I asked Dusty to clean it u so I could jump it. He laughed knowing full well I’ll never be brave enough to do so

Gem responded by immediately softening and listening. Who would have thought that by giving your horse actual directions to follow that they would become more rideable? *Head desk*

After I did the rectangle a few times in each direction, I headed to the ground pole and picked up the trot. And Gem was amazing. The best I’ve ever felt under me.

beautiful sunrise going to work one morning

She rode straight along the long diagonal as I focused on a specific fence post to aim for. Since she was balanced and sure of her direction, the ground pole was met in stride and rode as if not even there. What really impressed me was that she actually had real bend in the turn. I was working hard to plan the turn several strides out and do as Trainer tells me all the time: ride her like an old lady driving on ice.

Gem is super athletic and can handle being jammed around tight corners but that doesn’t mean it is right to do it plus it kills all momentum and pace. By planning my turns more carefully she can more easily maintain her balance and rhythm through the turn.

Once we went through my planned arc I could actually feel her body straighten again under me as I switched my focus to the far fence line and picked my line down the diagonal and over the pole at an angle. It felt amazing. I’ve never actually felt her be so bendy and malleable under me before.

AMAZING.

He hooked one of his dump trucks to his tractor and was pulling it all over. Waggy was happy to chase it.

After 15 minutes I called it quits. She was being so good it felt more harmful than good to keep repeating the exercise. She had this one mastered and deserved to be done for the night. Eventually I’m going to have to stop doing that and ride her longer or we will never gain any endurance back but for now I’m happy to give her a big pat and tell her how good she was.

This ride left me grinning all night long. Hopefully I can remember how much better things go when I ride very deliberately and we can continue moving forward and having fun.

Riding/Horses

The Mare Learns to Bend.. Kinda

The word of the day Sunday was BEND. We had none the last few times I rode on my own and I was growing frustrated trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Turns out a lot. Go figure.

We stuck to the near end of the arena, using my ground pole chute from a few days before as the farthest point. It is much easier to keep Gem contained in a smaller space than let her gain speed in the arena at large. The lesson was a tale of the bi polar horse. The first 30 minutes Gem was lazy. Like walking as slow as physically possible while still doing what I asked lazy. It was a nice change of pace and allowed me to get some good work in.

No the look of a mare wanting to get work done

First Trainer had me ride a large rectangle working on keeping Gem straight until the turn and then creating the bend in the turn while quickly regaining the straightness after. The teaching point here was that you can’t work on bend if you are never straight in the first place. I had to work on keeping her between my aides on the lines I chose and needed to be more deliberate in my path. It wasn’t good enough to get from A to B. I had to get there on an exact path that I planned in advance and then turn exactly where I wanted.

Shedding has begun!!

From there we added in a circle using my chute to anchor the circle at 20 m. Trainer immediately called me out for over compensating with my upper body as I tried to create the bend for Gem by twisting like a tornado. Not useful. Instead I was to have just enough bend in my shoulders to allow me to look 1/4 of the circle ahead at all times and just enough in my waist to shift my weight in the saddle to cue Gem to bend around the inside leg.

Still not enthused

Since Gem was being lazy, she actually accepted my lower leg on her side pushing her out into my outside rein. It felt delicious. Is that a word I can use when describing riding? Typically any inside leg results in going faster, so I have to use it judiciously. However, without the proper aides our circle tends to turn into a spiral getting ever smaller as I can’t push her out with my inside leg and catch her with the outside rein. Sunday however I could at least for a few small steps at a time and it created a lovely geometry.

Grumpy mare ears were the flavor of the day

The biggest learning point in the first half was to be more deliberate with my path, my turns and in riding in general. I tend to not hold myself as firm when riding and I need to be greedy with everything.

Then the second half happened and Gem woke up and got angry that I was still asking her to work when…gasp..she began to sweat. Mare hates the sweat. As soon as she starts, she shuts down and quits. Silly Princess.

I love shadow pictures. The arena footing is a whole other story.

We had just taken a short walk break where I got nailed for throwing her away and not continuing to ride (oops!) and took the trot back up when my nice, calm and quiet mare became speed demon. Sigh. The next 30 minutes were then spent getting her head screwed back on and paying attention.

When the circle became too much for her and all we were doing was zooming around throwing in half halts every 2 steps, half of which were being ignored, Trainer had me go back out on the rectangle adding in a 10 meter circle at each corner with the goal being to maintain the pace and not fall into it. We were semi capable of this, but still I heard the tell tale “slow down, slower” from Trainer about half a million times.

Gorgeous day for a ride

Still, there were good things to come out of the second half. First, I didn’t give up. Sometimes when Gem is like this my head shuts down and I get tense, braced and want to get off and cry in the corner. Sunday though I actually laughed at her. I knew she was tired and that this was getting hard for her which is why she acted out however I also knew that if she just calmed the heck down and did what I asked it would all be over and she could go chill out int he pasture again. The biggest teaching point here was that I needed to be patiently persistent in what I wanted. Gem could act out all she wanted but she darn well better stay on my circle or rectangle or whatever and maintain the bend. I had to keep asking and asking and asking until she realized I wasn’t going to go away ever and she had just better cave and do the thing.

By the end of the hour, Gem was pretty sweaty and I was really happy with all I had driven into my head. Basically it boils down to me holding both of us more responsible to getting the work done. No more letting her get away with pushing out on the circle or falling in. I need to be firmer about exactly where I want her to be at all times while actively working and that is a big shift from what I have always done.

The only part f her that tells on her age is her ever greying mane

With endurance, Gem and I had come to an understanding. She was in charge of her feet and tackling the trail in the safest and most efficient way possible and I was in charge of setting the pace. If she needed to canter a certain section, as long as our pace didn’t change, she could. I didn’t mess with her very much and she didn’t challenge my sense of direction or pace requirements. But this is a whole new ball game and I need to get more firm with every part of her. Our path is just as important as the speed in which we get there now and it is a big mental change for me.

Riding/Horses

Eight Years

“10 yo Arab mare, bay, 15h $800”

No picture. No video. No idea why I called the phone number, set up a date to see her or drive the hour to do so.

But I did.

I could say that I made a mistake. She was 150lbs underweight, belly bloated with worms, huge chunks of hair missing, hooves grown over shoes that hadn’t been taken off in over a year and a very shut down attitude towards the world.

Fugly little mare back in 2009.

In the early days I swore I made a mistake. I left the barn in tears more often than not. I tried my hardest to get her to do anything. Even just walk. But she wouldn’t. She’d stand perfectly still while I nudged, clicked, tapped with a crop, kicked, yelled. Not a hair would flinch on her body. And then right when I gave up trying, she’d bolt wildly around all crazy.

Not necessarily safe but not mean either. She just had no interest in pleasing me at all.

Snowy, craptastic Ohio winter day when we went to go look at her.

The best thing I did was move to WI away from the prying eyes and pieces of advice of only partly sane horse people. Once there she was housed in my backyard (we had a sweet set up of renting the second house on a boarding facility until we got evicted when the land owner gambled our monthly rent away and the property was foreclosed on) and I had all the time in the world to slowly work with her and show her that I wasn’t going to leave or ask her to do anything unfair.

It took until year three of our time together before she let me in. Then everything changed.

I’m biased, sure, but damn!!! Look at her now. This was taken this summer at our rental.

In the last eight years Gem has taken me from clueless, but loving horse owner who was mostly a passenger to a much more educated, independent horsewoman and an active, thinking rider. It hasn’t always been fun. It’s likely never going to be pretty. But it has been worth every second of effort I’ve put into her.

Part of me wishes I had blogged at the beginning but mostly I’m glad I didn’t. I’m sure everyone would have just told me to sell her back then and what a shame it would have been to lose out on all these experiences.

Gem went from not able to walk under saddle to bolting madly to having a trainer tell me she’d never be able to canter to becoming a 100 mile endurance horse cantering the first 30 plus miles nearly straight and is now jumping 2′ fences and schooling over starter sized cross country fences.

I’ll never tire of this picture

She isn’t easy but neither am I. I think we do okay together and even with all my complaining on here about her I have no interest in looking at the world through any other ears.  Here is to many more years with my Gemmiecakes!

Riding/Horses

Hello, I’m Sara and I Love Jumping

Nine months ago that statement would have been a bold faced lie. I hated jumping. I was scared of even a 12″ cross rail. Two feet made me curl into the fetal position. Gem was in full agreement with this as well. To put it mildly, jumping was not my thing.

Now? Holy crap guys, I love it. Deep down, LOVE it. I love everything about it and the more I learn the deeper I fall. There are so many tiny intricacies about this sport and I am finding myself not so patiently waiting for the day I can unlock the secrets. I always thought I’d feel this way about dressage, but in reality I liked it only slightly more than Gem which isn’t saying a whole lot.

This was completely solidified during my lesson Sunday morning. A lesson I attempted to wuss out of when the weather was 41F and raining.

Trainer wouldn’t let me bail

Once there though I quickly forgot about being cold and wet in favor of the permanent grin that was plastered all over me face from start to finish. If this is what riding was supposed to feel like these last eight years, I’ve been seriously missing out.

So back to the lesson.

Gem was a saint. In fact she even walked up to me in the pasture. This is a good thing, true,  but also then put me in a bind because I had planned 40 minutes to catch her and now had to waste that time waiting to leave. In the cold rain. No way was i going to put her back out and try again later.

This sweet innocent face. Ha!

The lesson began per usual working on the flat. Trainer likes to see how rideable Gem is being to determine what we work on. It also is a sneaky way to work in the boring part for Gem without her getting too annoyed.

Sometime about two months ago things clicked for us. It began right around the time I began riding her two days a week at home working on short, but productive flat work in the dressage saddle. Gem was so light and responsive on our flat work Sunday. Everything was just so much easier. Bending actually occurred. She remained steady in her pace and rhythm while I got to play around with inside leg for more bend and a steady outside rein. I was grinning and Trainer kept telling me how happy she was that Gem was being so darn rideable. It felt like a completely different horse!

Then we got to the even better stuff. All our work to date has focused on getting Gem to just slow the poop down and now here we are nine month later and more often than not we can actually move on and learn new things. It’s getting fun folks!

Sunday that new item was working on bend over the jumps. To date we were just happy to make it over a fence and my focus was straightness before and after and worry about getting to the next fence later. On Sunday though Trainer set up a simple exercise to get us bending over the fence. A new skill that we had never been able to do before since Gem required so much leg to just go over the darn thing.

I completely failed at getting a decent shot of the exercise. The ground pole to the left right in front of the straw bales was one set point for the circle. Opposite of that one and off screen to the right was an identical pole which made up the other set point for the circle. I had to keep Gem bending throughout

So Trainer set two ground poles up in the far end of the arena making a 20 meter circle. The goal for me was to keep Gem bent over the entire circle instead of going straight over each pole and turning after. We did this at the trot. The first few times I was still hitting the pole perfectly straight and then turning, but I finally figured it out.

On Gem’s part, it took her a while to figure out her feet while going over the pole and keeping the bend in her body. Trainer wanted me to focus on adding as many steps in as possible between the two poles to get Gem to rock back and move over them instead of trying to reach out and take a long spot. It took a bit but it was so fun to be working on minutia type things and not fighting her zooming around and constantly be hearing “slow her down, slow down, slow down”. Instead I was hearing “add more strides” and “a little more inside leg” or “hold that outside rein steadier” Fun, fun, fun!!!!

My grin was about as big as ever. And that was before Trainer made it even better.

Trainer setting up the cross rail. She made the circle larger so that we could alternate between going over it and making a flat 20 m circle beside it still using the other ground pole

Trainer changed out one ground pole for a cross rail and moved it out closer to the rail. The exercise was to go over the pole, cut inside the jump to create a 20 meter circle, go over the ground pole, then go over the jump, get her back to trot before the ground pole and repeat the same sequence again. Key points were to make sure she stayed bent the entire time including over the jump. “Bend her in the air” was said about two dozen times.

And oh my word was it FUN! And hard. But mostly fun. My legs were shaking by the time we had done this both directions. Gem never said no to the cross rail either which got me in trouble a bit. It’s so hard to trust her when I have so much history of her saying no, but she was being good and Trainer told me I needed to reward that by giving her a better release. The best part was that I could feel her bending in the air and then she would land in canter on the correct lead. She also came back to trot before the pole each time without running away with me as she did when we did the grid work before. So much progress!!!

The final time we did it Gem picked up a beautiful left lead canter and Trainer told me to just ride it. We made 4 or 5 laps in canter which is the most I’ve ever done in a lesson and I was giddy with happiness by the end.

I could have finished on that, but the course from the show was still up and Trainer wanted to work on fences 1-3 since I sucked at those. She made them all 2′ verticals and had me ride them like in the show but add our new cross rail as fence 4.

I went into it and we did fence 1 fine and actually made the turn to 2 with bend and an even pace but then she stopped at 2. She hopped over eventually and then we made it to 3 and she ran out. I circled her and she popped over and did 4 no issue.

Sigh. It is so hard because I want to trust her and believe she will go over so I back off a bit and give a big release like Trainer told me to when we were doing the cross rail except now she was taking advantage of that as an excuse to say no.

Back around again and this time I rode her aggressively over each and it went really well. Trainer even told me to keep her cantering after fence 3 and we took fence 4 from the canter! Our first canter fence!!!! Gem was a bit awkward with her legs since we haven’t worked on this before but we did it and I liked it!!!

Ah!!!! I’m enjoying jumping!!!! What is the world coming to?

Riding/Horses

Gem Can Stay

After the semi ok, but not really great cross country schooling, I’ve had a hard time not thinking about the immediate horse future and the long term goals.

I’m not stupid and I don’t have rose colored glasses. I know Gem isn’t the perfectly right horse for me. I know most would have walked away a long time ago. This is supposed to be fun, so why torture myself?

As Gem ran circles around me Saturday morning in her pasture, the thought solidified in my brain. I’m going to lease her out to an endurance rider for a few seasons. Let her return to the trail. She is way too young physically and mentally to retire, I fully believe she would hate it, yet I don’t really want to do this with her any longer and I can’t return to endurance at this point in my life.

There. Plan made.

But then I got to the show and Gem patiently let Wyatt pick her hooves clean, brush her out and fuss over her. She carried him in warm up with others trotting and cantering by without putting a single foot wrong. She was careful and calm during his class even walking past the scary hay bale jump.

As I stood waiting my turn, she napped. Her head would bob and then snap up as she woke up. No screaming. No pawing. No moving all around. Horses crammed in front and behind us and she didn’t take notice.

In warm up she was relaxed, listened to my aides and popped over the cross rail without hesitation.

In the arena, she fed off my nerves and poor judgement and held me accountable but wasn’t dirty or mean. She got the job done.

I watched all these other people kick my butt on lesson horses. Little 8 year olds in pigtails who cantered the entire course. I thought how nice it would be to have that. To get on my horse, canter easily around pretty much being useless except for steering cuz a monkey could pilot it without issue, and then gather my many ribbons and go home.

Then I went in on Gem and my entire perspective changed. Was it easy? Nope. Did I look like the worlds biggest slow poke idiot? Probably. But here’s the thing. We did it. Together. And the feeling of accomplishment that flooded me when we soared over the final jump in each round is irreplaceable and unmatched.

Sure I would likely be jumping higher on a different horse. Yup, I probably would still be heading to a HT in December. But you know what? My lower leg position wouldn’t be as solid. Gem has taught me that. My hands wouldn’t be as relaxed. Gem taught me that too. My eye wouldn’t be as good at looking for a path many, many strides in advance. You guessed it. Gem taught me that.

I’d be a lot farther in my riding, but I doubt I’d be as good (relatively speaking) as I am currently at it. So Gem stays. For now anyway. Until she pisses me off again. I’ve been threatening to sell her for near on 8 years now. I doubt she believes me any more.

Competition

GFPC Fun Show: Thoughts

A lot of lessons were learned at the show. I could have walked away from this experience dejected. I mean, I just got my butt handed to me by a bunch of 8 year old girls in literal pigtails on lesson ponies. My time was slow by a full minute. Gem tried to leave the arena upon entering. I had a total of 4 refusals between the two rounds. I forgot where my fence was.

But we jumped. Every single fence. No rails down. Even with a crowd of people hanging on the rail. Even with a crap ton of flower filler. Even on a height we haven’t ever even schooled. Gem said yes. The refusals were my fault. I didn’t set her up right or I stopped riding. Maybe a better/more forgiving horse would have said yes anyway but we all know by now that isn’t Gem. And yet she said yes 20 times.

That’s pretty amazing.

Beyond that though I learned some things.

First, the next time I’m signing up for every freaking class possible to stave off the bone numbing boredom that hanging out for hours on end at a h/j show by yourself creates. Hubby was off entertaining Wyatt and I just stood there. When I saw the class schedule I had no clue what half the classes were. Now I know. Sure we would never win in the hunter equitation over fences 18”, but damn that course looked easy. Outside line, diagonal, outside line. Sign me up for that next time!

Second, I ride better over bigger fences. I was more nervous going into the 2’ class having never jumped a course set to that height before and maybe that is why, but looking through the screen shots my position is way better during the 2’ round than the 18” one. I think it has more to do with the fact that Gem required a stronger ride, I was more secure having just done it before and therefore I dug in and got it done. Plus Gem had to actually jump instead of zooming over which helped me too.

I talked to Gem. A lot. Kinda loudly too to the entertainment of the judge and spectators. I talked to her the entire time. “Ok Gem we’ve got this. Jump it!” “Sorry Gem! My fault let’s try again” “We look like fools out here but come on let’s finish this thing” on and on. I even told her I was a wimp. I talked and she responded by being more present. She looked around a lot less than normal and was more focused. Point taken and thank you to blogger of 3dayadventureswithhorses for the suggestion on another one of my posts. It helped a lot!

I really believe that the cross country schools are helping our arena jumping 1,000 fold. I may never be brave enough to enter a HT with her, but the schooling will continue. It’s made her a better jumper. It’s made me braver and more bold. We were coming to the yellow fence 5 in the 2’ round and I knew she hadn’t liked it before. With one refusal already I wasn’t going to let her say no there. She twisted and turned her butt and I stayed firm in my leg pressure and didn’t give up. She jumped it.

18” verticals, even on a short or odd approach, no longer bother me at all. I made her jump them from a standstill no issues. The 2’ course began scary but by fence 3 I was down for it and by fence 7 I was laughing out loud, giggling to myself and having a blast. That’s a major change from 9 months ago when I wouldn’t even jump a 12” cross rail.

Other than the boredom factor, which could have been lessened had Wyatt’s class not been #6 and mine 16, I quite liked the jumper show. I liked that you could enter multiple classes and just keep going. I liked that it was only $10 a class. I think I’d like to keep going and building our confidence. I also think that Gem could be a really good jumper. She is fast, athletic enough to take the inside turns and this is a game she understands the point of. I’m just not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to let her do it.

All in all it was an amazing experience. It wasn’t perfect and I’m pretty sure we only beat the girl who fell off in the 18” and the girl who was rung off course in the 2’ round, but I don’t care. I throw all my ribbons away anyway (did I just hear all my readers have a collective stroke?). I left happy. Gem? Well she seemed ok with it all. I’m ready for the next one!

Competition

GFPC Fun Show: My Turn

There is media! So much media!!! While I have a ton of thoughts and feelings about how this show went I think I’ll just run it via pictures here and then blabber on in a later post.

After waiting a million years (ok, it was more like 2 1/2 hours) for class #16 to be up next, it was time to wake Gem up and head in for the 18” jumpers. We were the 5th ones in, she entered and immediately tried to spin around and leave again, and it went….ok…ish. Here is a run through:

My course. I sent a text to Trainer and she sent back “courtesy of yours truly”. I knew it too. This had her written all over it especially fence 1 which was a super tight and short turn off the rail on an angle. She has had me work on that in our lessons and I sucked at it. 

Ok Gem this is it. Let’s trot down the long side and head to fence 1 in a good rhythm.

Nah, I’d rather spook at those people in the bleachers.

Shit! Was that the bell? We aren’t anywhere near fence 1. I’m going to get eliminated. Go Gem go!

We then proceed to rush to fence 1 and while Gem went over she whacked it really hard and rattled me.

No idea why she would have whacked it. I mean, this is perfect jumping form. 

Ok. Fence 1 is over. Yay! Oh shit. I forgot to turn to fence 2. Maybe she will do it if I shove her at it and give her absolutely no room or warning.

Ha! No way am I going over that bright pink fence. Sorry lady. Try again.

This was a much needed wake up call for me to focus and ride my horse. I wasn’t angry with her here. This was 100% my fault for forgetting where to go and jamming her at it. I do love the look on her face though. 

Sorry Gemmie! My fault. Let’s try that again.

Second attempt she went over no problem. My heart was still racing and my nerves were acting up big time, but we got it done.

Ok…now remember where fence 3 is. Sit up and keep her under control.

We finally got our act together over fence 3 and I started to look for my fences and actually ride.

Huh. This isn’t going so bad. The height isn’t scary and Gem isn’t being too bad. Maybe we won’t die.

By this point, gem was beginning to understand what we were doing out there and began looking ahead for the jumps. This makes it so much easier for me to ride her.

Look at that. Another fence behind us and we are rolling along. Maybe if I take my leg off she will slow down.

Gem hated this fence. Maybe she hates the color yellow?

Oooookay….we nearly had a second refusal at fence 5. Never, ever take my leg off. Fence 6 should be easy but then it’s a tight bend left to 7. Will we make it?

Fence 6 wasn’t really an issue, but the turn to 7 was short and required a lot of accuracy.

You’ll see how ugly fence 7 was in the video because I never got her lined up right, but over it she went and then straight to 8. I don’t have shots of those.

Fence 9 is the most decorated. Two left. We can’t screw this up now. Jump Gem, jump!

I was elated to be at fence 9 and rode aggressively. It never occurs to me that Gem requires that much aggression to jump until I am nearly done with my course. Some day I’ll learn. 

Yes! One left!!! Oh wait. I still have to ride. Turn! Turn!

I very nearly forgot to turn to this one too. Stupid brain.

Gem got a million pats, an emotional hug and some time to nap before the 2’ jumpers four classes later.

Here is the video so you can witness us in all our squirrelly glory. We finished I believe 1 full minute slower than anyone else. Oops.

I nearly bailed on the 2’ class. Once they reset the fences and added filler to nearly every single one, it looked daunting. Then I remembered that the standards start at 1’9” and that meant the prior class wasn’t really 18” and this would only be 3” higher. No big deal, right?

When I entered the arena, I cut through the center more to avoid my panic at making it to fence 1 in 45 seconds. Gem was much more settled this time around and I silently hoped she’d realize the height had gone up.

Ok. Let’s get this done. Line her up. Oh shit! That looks high and there is a bunch of fill. Quit looking at the jump. Quit it. Well crap she ran out.

It’s ok Gemmie. My fault. Let’s get this done. It’s only 2’. Leg on. Look up. Go!

Again, the run out was all my fault. I backed off and got scared which left Gem high and dry. The second time though I put my big girl panties on. 

Do not forget to turn for fence 2. There it is. Leg on. There is no filler. She can do this.

The jumps were raised and I rode much more aggressively this round which made for a prettier picture overall. 

Wow. 2’ isn’t so bad. We can do this. I honestly believe we can do this.

No issues here
Or here!

Ok. Remember fence 5 was sticky last time. Keep that leg on. Wait. Where is she going? Why is her butt to my left. Move it Gem. I mean it. Get your flying bay hurt over this jump!

Fence 5 was an issue. You’ll see in the video how she tries to contort her way out of it. Thankfully, Trainer had prepared me for this and I was committed to making this round work

Was that a refusal technically? Is that our second? Oh shit again. There’s fence 6 and I’m not paying attention. Focus, Sara. They added a plank. Why am I staring at it? Quit staring.

Ugh. Another refusal. My fault again. Is that number 3? Am I eliminated? I didn’t hear a bell. I’ll just keep on until they tell me to stop.

Gem did go over it the second time since I stopped staring at the plank and asked her to jump it. I don’t have good screen shots of 7, but it jumped just as bad as the last time. I got jumped nearly out of the tack but I was actually having fun by this point and didn’t care.

Ha! I’m having fun. FUN! That’s new. Fence 8 is easy. Come on Gem! Let’s finish strong.

There is that beautiful jumping form again. her knees are cute though. Just don’t look at her head. 

Wahoo!! Fence 9 has very bright flowers and we have 3 refusals already. No room for error. Go Gem. Jump the jump. Let’s enjoy the end! Grab mane and go!

I was so worried she would back off this jump. I kicked her good and grabbed mane. 

 

One last plain fence and we are done. Wait…am I smiling? While jumping? On Gem? Weeeeeee…….

This is my new all time favorite picture. Ever. I’m smiling. On Gem. Over a fence. 

There are so many thoughts to share, but for now here is the video of the 2’ round (a lesson on how to make 10 fences take over 2 minutes to jump) and I’ll sort the rest out later.