This week it was mission accomplished! I finally made it back to the big league and took Luc over a three foot fence. Yes, to me, three feet is the big league. But it was no easy task getting there. It all started when Luc and I walked into the arena. There are some newly built fences setup and he was giving them the evil eye as we walked past them. Then it was the scary door. Then it was the new fences next to the scary door.
After walking him around on the ground to get us both warmed up, and hopefully to get as much of Luc’s fixation problem solved as possible, it was time to get on. I used the tiny mounting block again – and man is it a stretch! I think I need to work a whole lot more on my flexibility. It was a struggle and I’m sure anyone watching would say it was touch and go for a minute whether I would actually make it on.
Once safely seated in the saddle, we started out the same as on the ground. Luc was a bit too focused on the new jumps and scary, scary door, but I got him moving and thought we were past the worst of it. Then just as I let my guard down. Bam! I suddenly found myself riding the captain of the idiot brigade! He leapt sideways at absolutely nothing. I wish I could say it was the only time that happened during our ride, but it wasn’t. After working him past the door at the walk, we picked up a trot. For the first few laps the door and new jumps were non-issues. Then suddenly they were.
Doing my best to ignore the random spooks, I worked Luc over some poles at the trot and canter before we put up a small x-rail to warm-up over. Luc jumped it amazingly in both directions! I was so impressed when he felt nice and forward to the fence even heading toward the scary door.
Instead of doing the sensible thing and raising it up to a small vertical, I decided it was just time to go for it. Luc’s owner, my sister Jen, cranked it up and looked at me and Luc expectantly. Looking at the vertical I felt a twinge of nervousness. Boy did it look big. Was this really a good idea? Maybe I should have her put it down a hole or two?
Pushing my self-doubts aside I picked up the right lead canter (my worse way) and headed down to the vertical – toward the scary end. I mean hey, if you’re going to go for it, you may as well challenge yourself as much as you can handle along the way, right?
Luc unsurprisingly was fantastic. He jumped nice and round and didn’t even bat an eye at the height. Of course he’s used to it as he routinely jumps that height or larger with my sister in the saddle. We turned around and headed back over it in the other direction. Nailed it! I saw my distance and was easily able to make the minor correction needed to ensure we hit it dead on.
I called it a day after that as Luc was so good and I a) didn’t want to get him too sweaty, and b) didn’t want to push my luck!
I can’t wait until three feet starts to look little again. That’s going to happen one day, right?