Okay, so one look at one of my most recent posts, and you will realize that this blog is not about jumping. Sorry about that. But there's a reason for it, so if you'll bear with me for a second, you'll see why.
This blog's original name used to be "Wait For The Jump" when I first started it because in the very, very beginning, I was playing around with the idea of turning Lily into an eventer, and also because of the story I will tell you in a minute. (Just wait for it.) When my barn in FL forbade us from jumping due to liability issues, I just stuck to dressage and switched the blog name to "Freestyle" because I wasn't able to make up my mind about what discipline I wanted us to participate in, and I figured a jump reference title would confuse potential readers: it would never attract dressage readers, and it would turn off h/j readers when they realized there is really no jumping going on here whatsoever.
In June 2013, I changed my mind and switched it back. "Freestyle" is just a plain old boring title and I was tired of going "Meh" when I saw it.
This is the story behind the "Wait For The Jump" title:
When I first started officially jumping, I took lessons with this trainer in the Guaynabo area in Puerto Rico who was famous for teaching kids to stay on anything. Anything. Most of her horses were bonafide bonkers by school horse standards, but they would have been stellar in the US Grand Prix jumper circuit. This woman picked horses that jumped. They would jump ANYTHING you put in front of them, whether you wanted them to or not. I didn't deal with refusals and stops until years later down the line, because this woman had a barnful of horses that were chosen strictly for their ability to lock and go.
|Can you say long spot? This was Sunlight, a big chestnut OTTB. I LOVED him; he was one of my faves to jump. Check out his expression: like I said, lock and go! And mouth wide open because his only gear while jumping was Full Throttle. I still had long hair, and was wearing full chaps. I was 14. That's the trainer in the background, setting up jumps.|
The end result of riding horses that would only gallop through a course was that I was incapable of seeing a shorter distance. Longer distances? Hell yeah. The problem with this was that the minute you put me on a horse that was properly trained that needed to be set up correctly in front of the jump, I started rushing, rushing, rushing him to take the long spot. By this time, I had switched to my awesome trainer Ron Howe, who had a bachelor's in Equine Studies with a major as equestrian teacher. He was super well-rounded as a trainer, and he was the first one to teach me that riding on the flat wasn't just w/t/c; there was a lot more to it than that. He was the one who introduced me to the basic concepts of dressage.
Ron put me on increasingly difficult and technical horses who required a lot of skill to get over fences. He said he would exorcise my previous trainer's ingrained bad habits one way or another. (Lol!) He gave me the tools to later be able to train by myself for years (I didn't find trainers of his caliber until I moved to the US) and to be able to figure out a horse within a few minutes of mounting up.
The one thing he yelled the most when I was approaching a fence? (You can see in the Sunlight photo why...)
"WAIT FOR THE JUMP!!"
And that's why I gave the blog that name, and why I gave it back it's original name, even though Lily and I don't jump. It applies to the patience you need to properly train a horse; it applies to dressage, to the time it takes to develop a horse correctly so they can do the following moves on the training scale; it applies to rehabbing your horse step by step while allowing her to heal; it applies to taking the time to do long slow distance with your possible endurance horse to put a baseline fitness on her; it applies to quiet days in the ER as a vet tech waiting for the next emergency to come in through the door; it applies to waiting for your patient to adjust to the changes you made to his anesthesia before trying to make further changes; it applies to allowing things to fall into place so you can get to where you want to be next. As a rider, as a couple, as a professional. It applies to everything in life. Sometimes you can't bulldoze your way through things; sometimes you've already done everything you can, and you just have to sit back and wait for it to come.
See the distance, sit back, and let the jump come to you.
Wait for the jump.