It’s easy to underestimate 18″. For Raglan 18″ is nothing, but when you’re as short as I am 18″ comes up to right above your knee. It’s short enough to step over, but tall enough that it looks a little scary.
My lesson at THF came with the realization that Raglan jumps much differently than I’m used to. I definitely used my two point over fences on Belle, but I didn’t put a lot of thinking into it. With Belle I knew she always needed to be going faster, so I gave her a couple of kicks, focused on pushing my heels down, and then closed my hip over the jump. She’s so point and shoot that if we flubbed a distance it was okay because she jumped anyways and I could sort things out after we had landed. It was easy, natural. I didn’t have to think a lot about how my body was positioned because it felt instinctual.
It doesn’t feel instinctual with Raglan. Back when we were playing around at KW I kept the jumps super low and he just cantered over them. Pump the jumps up a smidge higher and suddenly he’s actually using his back and my options are to find a two point or get knocked around out of my tack—I can’t just half seat over the jumps anymore. I don’t feel like I’m going to fall of, I just feel like my timing is super screwed up and I’m not using my body the way that I was supposed to be using my body.
Last Sunday SellerH and I met up to do some jumping together. We started out with a really fun exercise made out of canter poles and a cross rail that was SO. MUCH. FUN.
The 18″, on the other hand, wasn’t. Looking back I definitely needed to build up momentum and then push him up to it, but I was too nervous to do it, especially when I knew there was the oxer looming at the end of the line (even if I wasn’t planning on jumping it). We figured it out, but it shook me, and in the end I had SellerH take Ragan over the oxer for me so that he’d have a really good experience.
Jumping Raglan sort of feels like starting over! I knew we need to take a couple of steps back, so this Sunday I set up some easy cross rails and some canter poles to build my confidence back up again. The nice thing is that Raglan is such a good young horse! Even when I completely mess him up and he stops at the jump because I chickened out, if I get myself together he forgets about my failures and jumps over it anyways. He’s only six, so if it takes me a few years to get myself figured out that’s okay.