I think I did something bad this week, but it felt oh so good, so I’m having a little trouble feeling guilty about it. You see, today I decided to just pop Luc over a tinny, tiny x-rail that was set up in the sand ring. Plop would be the better way to describe it, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
First let me explain how it even happened. Since my first ride back I’ve been aching to jump, but I told myself not to rush things, to wait until I’d built up my strength again, and I’d been doing pretty well with avoiding temptation. Even when the peanut gallery that occasionally comes to watch me ride encourages me to just jump that little fence or this little obstacle. Up until now I’ve been pretty good at avoiding the peer pressure (which let’s face it, wasn’t really pressure at all, more of a suggestion to just go ahead and do what I wanted to), but this last ride I just couldn’t wait any longer.
Luc had been a pretty good boy, once I reminded him that I was holding a go-stick, and I stuck with my plan of doing at least a few minutes of no-stirrups work. As a reward for actually taking away my own stirrups, even if only for a short period of time, I oh so casually pointed Luc towards that tinny, tiny x-rail I mentioned earlier to see if we could go up and over it. We got the over part, the up was a bit of challenge. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a small x-rail. We measured it afterwards and it came to an enormous 14.5 inches high, barely high enough for Luc to register it was there.
Instead of jumping it, he just gave me a slightly larger trot over it, which didn’t do anything to help my position. I avoided flopping forward onto Luc’s neck like a big wet fish, but just barely. The second attempt was only marginally better. Of the four times I jumped, and I really hesitate to use that word, over the x-rail (twice in each direction), Luc actually only put in the effort to lift his feet over it once. Unfortunately, my photographer was caught off guard by the fact he actually jumped, so my head didn’t quite make it into the photo. Oh well, next time!
My position did improve with each jump, but I still need to work on my strength. It will be back to no stirrups for me next week, with no jumping reward until I can secure my leg. I think I’ll be spending a lot of time in two-point over the next few rides.
As his reward for packing me over the jump, I gave Luc his head and encouraged him to stretch. I was so impressed with his long and low trot, right up until I realized he was stretching all right, right down to the ground to snatch little bites of the errant dandelions that had sprouted in the sand. I guess that was still a reward, even if it wasn’t the one I was trying to give him!
Luc got another reward a few hours later when he had his first ever visit from the chiropractor. He seemed to really enjoy it, and as it turns out he’s in pretty good shape and only needed a few minor adjustments. We did find out he’s a little tight through his hamstrings, so we have some new fun stretches to do before he’s ridden. The chiropractor even said the stretches might make Luc more willing to go forward. One can only hope!
Overall I felt it was an entirely successful day. Luc learned he likes chiropractic adjustments and massage, I learned I still love jumping just as much as when I was younger, and we both learned that Luc’s still the smarter partner in this relationship. After all, he gets treats after every ride, and I just get aching muscles.