The funny thing about confidence is that you never really know when you’re going to get a big boost of it. I was pretty pumped about conquering my nerves last week and finally making it back over a 3’ fence, but I never expected what happened this week. It turns out all I needed to get my jumping mojo back was just those two fences last week (once in each direction).
I hadn’t been planning on working over fences this week, but my trusty enabler – I mean sister – was pretty insistent. And boy am I glad she was! Our ride started out mostly uneventful, except for one little thing. That same enabling sister was nowhere to be found while I was warming up. She was chatting with some friends in the barn. Now riding alone is something most riders encounter on a regular basis, but for me it’s been a good long while since I’ve ridden solo without any ground support.
Remarkably, it didn’t seem to bother me one bit being in the arena alone, just me and Luc. There was just one tiny issue. Jen is also my trusty photographer for this blog – and I was starting to wonder if I would have to run one without a fun new picture. We walked, then trotted, then worked on some serpentines, and finally over some poles setup. Still no Jen. So I picked up the canter, and worked on bending, and roundness, and forwardness toward the scary end and then finally the poles.
Those poles might have gone a bit better had I actually walked them before getting on. While the first set seemed to ride fine as bounce poles, the second set was way too tight for big ole Luc. After realising that the first time through, I thought it might be good to work on collection over the second set of poles the next time around. Unfortunately, even giving me his all, they were too tight. Sorry buddy! He tripped over the last pole, my reins went flying out of my hands, and I had a moment of thinking they were going to go right over his head! Thankfully that didn’t happen. Even more thankfully, Luc just stopped after tripping and I was able to get everything righted.
We went back to work (not over the poles) and a few minutes later Jen came sauntering into the arena. I told her we were just wrapping up our ride and that Luc had been a very good boy. Then she asked about jumping. Call me weak willed, but I just couldn’t say no. So off she went, setting up a vertical to warm up over. Unlike last week, this time we warmed up over something larger than an 18” cross rail.
The vertical was probably around 2’6”, the height I’d previously been calling large. Luc and I had zero issues to it. So we put it up, all the way to 3’. Guess what? No butterflies, none what so ever. So much for that height being intimidating. Heading down to it the first time I absolutely buried Luc at the base, but being the good boy he is, he happily popped over it anyways. Good pony! The second time was a little bit better, but it was the third time over we finally hit that sweet spot.
Then we put the fence up a little higher. Now it was an even bigger, even airier vertical – and I still didn’t feel nervous at all, even with a few botched distances at the lower height. We soared over it twice, and then up went the fence again. Go team! No issues, no butterflies, just a nice confident ride to the now 3’3” airy vertical.
I called it a day there because Luc had been such a good boy and I didn’t want to get him too sweaty. After all, he is in his winter woollies! The thing is though, I could have continued to go higher. I know Luc has the scope, and apparently now I have the confidence. At least over a single vertical on the quarter line.
Maybe next time I jump I’ll do something a little more challenging, like a line or an oxer or something. Hopefully this new found confidence sticks!