You’ve come a long way, baby!

Sometimes you have those rides that make you want to yell, “WOO-HOO!!” Today was one of those days. Of course, how could a jumping day ever be anything other than a woo-hoo day? But, today was a spectacular day. I set up a particularly tough gymnastic line (well, tough for Johnny) thinking we just might have a breakdown today, but instead, Johnny proved he CAN be adjustable, and I CAN add leg in front of the fence. Who knew?
So the course went like this: a placing rail 9′ out from a vertical, then another placing rail 9′ from that fence with another vertical 42′ from the first vertical. Then, two bounce fences 9′ apart each (all fences were verticals at around 2’3″). And, you ride in from the trot, cantering 3 strides into the bounce complex. Sounds easy enough, except those 3 strides are perfect for Johnny to fall forward, galloping faster and faster into the vertical. Not today, buddy-boy! I started with just the two verticals, then added last rail so there was a 9′ placing rail in between two verticals at the end. That was a little mind-blowing for him until I added the next element of difficulty: after he jumped the first vertical, I halted him, did a rein-back, then walked calmly away before going back into the line and completing it. Suddenly, he was listening to me and even voluntarily slowing down on his own! By the time I added the final rail, he was cantering smoothly through like a hunter horse at the Maclay Finals. I nearly fell off my saddle in shock! To finish it all off, I did the whole thing backwards: double bounce, three strides to a vertical. Perfect!
This horse is way too tall for me and has been the most complex and difficult project I’ve ever undertaken. But, it’s days like today that make it all worth it. Little moments of awesomeness that prove he’s got the potential to go a long way. One of these days his rider is going to get it all figured out, and then…watch out world!


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