|This happened on Sunday!|
My story with Lily, back before starting the blog, started with her as a resale training project: I would train her while my BM at the time took care of the financial aspect of keeping her, and then we'd sell her and split the profit. Lily has always had a very nice jump, nice enough for me to think she'd make a nice lower level hunter, so that's what I was originally going to train her for. During her first week at our barn, I tested her over ground poles...and discovered a mare that was terrified of GROUND POLES. I had a lot of work in my future if we really were going to turn her into a hunter.
I didn't need to worry though because less than 3 months later she was mine, and I was able to dump the hunter prospect training.
She had such a gift for lateral movement and seemed to be so confident outside of the arena (HA on the regression she'd have later...there came a time where if you'd told me that I'd be doing 50 mile endurance rides with her in the mountains, I would have laughed in your face, she was so bad!) that I entertained the idea of eventually turning her into an eventer. No big aspirations there, just a lower level eventer.
We did work over ground poles and cavaletti and she eventually became more confident over them, and I've longed her over jumps throughout the years as cross training. It wasn't her favorite thing though, and often we'd come back to work on ground poles and cavaletti after a few days off from them and it would feel like I was re-starting her over them. Back in Florida our arena was small and when my dressage instructor took over as the BM, our BO forbade jumping on property. So there went that pipe dream anyway. I wasn't upset about it because by this point I really did just want to focus on dressage. I rode in the jumpers for 17 years; I trained horse after horse after horse for it, from older greenies to baby OTTBs just off the track to start in new careers. I also seemed to have a knack for getting horses that had formerly quit jumping to start doing it again for me. It was what I did in exchange for lessons. At one point I loved it. I lived for it. But as I became more skilled, I was put on more and more technical horses and in the process got badly burned by push rides, which is what I suspected Lily would be, and I didn't really want to tackle this type of issue by myself sans jump trainer. Lily had enough confidence issues as it was without adding my own to the equation.
So we didn't jump. I was amused when she started offering it on trail: when she is particularly happy or when riding on familiar trails, she is more than willing to jump fallen trees, logs and small streams. There is even proof of us doing this...
I encouraged it and she loved it.
We'd re-visit arena fences on the longe and it was always like starting over from scratch. She did it because I asked her to, not because she enjoyed it. This became even more obvious after the acquisition of Gracie, who will hunt down jumps in an arena if you let her!
|G-Mare proves that gaited horses CAN jump!|
Mind you, I have never properly jumped with Lily with me in the saddle. Like I said: only ground poles and cavaletti. We had just built jumps when barn management changed back in FL and BO decided to forbid jumping. And I just hadn't felt the urge to try it...until this particular day.
I set up a tiny cross rail, then warmed Lily up w/t/c. She was SUPER adjustable at the canter on this day, which I figured boded well for what I wanted to do.
After 20 minutes, I slowed her to a walk and pointed her at the cross rail. It was small enough that she could easily step over it. Except she looked at it as if she had never seen a cross rail before in her life (believe me, she has. And she has been longed over this particular jump before too) and wouldn't step over it. I kept my leg on her and calmly kept looking forward, not down at the cross rail. Lily danced sideways then stopped and decided to step over the jump. Except she stepped ON the rails and knocked one over. *face-palm* She half-reared in startlement. I kept my leg on but instead of going forward, she rapidly backed up. I continued to stay calm, turned her around and had her walk back up to the fence (she actually did so without protesting), where I dismounted and set it again.
Since I was already on the ground, I simply led her over the jump at a walk, only once in each direction. She was fine. I then mounted up and walked her over it, once in each direction. She continued to be fine. Right around then Charles and Gracie showed up.
I asked Lily for a trot and circled her around towards the cross rail. Her ears pricked and she picked up the pace.
"OH! We're JUMPING????! Why didn't you just say so???" she said.
"Silly mare. Since when do you enjoy jumping?"
|She overjumped a little bit...|
Please ignore the chicken elbows and me bracing against her neck. I corrected all of that later.
Also: I'm jumping in a dressage saddle with giant knee blocks AND a sheepskin cover. I'm thrilled with my leg in these pics: this was the very best I could do given the saddle circumstances! Other than one session jumping Q during our first time visiting Liz 3 years ago, I had not jumped in 6 years!!
So we continued, alternating directions.
|Long spot. But look at her face!! :)|
|And a deer jump! SPROING! I got left behind but let the reins thread through my fingers so as to not catch her in the mouth. She wasn't the least bit bothered.|
|Following her quietly.|