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Category: Lesson Recaps

Lesson Recap: Recovering After a Fall

Lesson Recap: Recovering After a Fall

Twenty minutes and only a handful of jumps into my very first lesson with LJO as my new teacher, Raglan hopped over the second part of a tiny line, dropped his head between his knees, and proceeded to dolphin buck me into the dirt (while I chanted “you a**hole, you a**hole, you a**hole” as LOUDLY as possible).

“who me? no, i is a v. goo boy remember?”

I was pissed. More than that, though, I was shaken. I told LJO that I didn’t want to do it anymore, but she just gave me The Look (LOL), so we jumped the line again. It went fine.

“You’ve schooled it and it’s done now,” LJO said. “Let it go and move on.”

But even though I was physically unscathed, my confidence plummeted. My mind kept replaying the fall. I felt like I couldn’t trust Raglan not to pull the same move again. Every time we trotted up to a jump I found myself grabbing at his face, just so that I could be 100% sure that his nose didn’t come below his chest.

I knew LJO was right and I needed to let it go and move past it, but my anxiety wouldn’t let me. I held him back as much as possible. I kept half-halting, even when I didn’t need to. Like the saint he is, Raglan went slower and slower until he was barely trotting the jumpsβ€”like they were tiny raised cavaletti.

And then we put the course together and we made it to the oxer.

Halfway over the oxer, I started to wonder what the hell I was doing. Somewhere between the moment his front feet left the ground and the moment his back feet touched down, my thoughts petered out and my grit took over. I landed with my leg on and pushed him forward. We attacked the next fences.

We ended the lesson feeling good about our comeback. I was super happy with what I’d accomplished emotionally! Six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to continue jumping after a fall like that.

Back to jumping our usual 2’3″ fences yesterday!

In the days since, my confidence still hasn’t been quite what it used to beβ€”but that’s okay. I’m not sure my anxiety will ever be entirely gone, but over the past couple of years I’ve made huge progress in learning how to manage and overcome it. I’m proud of myself for overcoming Monday’s setback. πŸ’—

Lesson Recap: Impulsion +1

Lesson Recap: Impulsion +1

You probably didn’t know this about me, but I’m psychic. Like three days before my lesson with TrainerA on Thursday (two lessons in one week? CRAZY, I KNOW), I decided it would be fun to try to push Raglan’s trot out. EXTENSION RIGHT? But I put my leg in to send him forward and… nothing. Or he’d jump right into a canter instead of stretching himself out the correct way.

TrainerA riding Raglan in the more “up” sort of frame I’ve been riding him in lately

As much as I love our weekly jump sessions, it was definitely time for a good flat lesson. I told TrainerA that I wanted to work on skills that get us closer to smooth flying changes. After watching us warm up, she decided to focus on pushing Raglan’s butt further underneath himself by putting more power into his trot.

It didn’t matter what I did, though, Raglan wouldn’t stretch. Eventually he got fed up with my spurs and fake-spooked in disapproval. I rode through it, then dismounted and handed his reins over to TrainerA.

TrainerA letting his neck stretch down and really pushing him to bring his butt underneath

After TrainerA loosened him back out for me, I got back on and she coached me through finding his more powerful working trot. The solution, surprisingly enough, was to take my leg off. I was closing a part of my thigh that was preventing him from moving out properly. The moment I stopped gripping with my thigh/knee zone, he started offering more engagement.

TrainerA also had me riding with my hands wider apart to help stabilize the bit more and prevent Raglan’s head from wobbling around (a bad habit I’ve taught him, since I tend to seesaw when I get nervous).

“dis flatwork stupid, u stupid, trainer lady STOOPID, i done nao” – Raglan

We carried the same concepts over to the canter, where I quickly discovered that I need to be sitting more often (usually I ride in a half seat) and that his right lead canter needs some major work. He still feels fast and out of control to the right; it’s a symptom of him not being as lifted as he should be. We need to improve this before we go back to our flying changes!

Trying to find the same spot TrainerA had, not quite there but getting closer…

I’ve got a lot of good flatwork stuff to work on now πŸ‘

Lesson Recap: The Jump Chute

Lesson Recap: The Jump Chute

PRO TIP: If you’re the type of rider that gets a little nervous when you see an oxer, you should probably buy a horse that EATS OXERS FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER.


An hour before my lesson yesterday, TrainerM and a crew of my lesson buddies gathered together to build up a jump shoot for Raglanβ€”partially so that we could all oooh and aaah over his hops, but also to give Raglan another chance to navigate a grid without me mucking things up for him.

Needless to say, Raglan’s got some serious #scope. It was confidence-building to see how effortlessly he propelled himself over such a large oxer. It put into perspective just how easy he thinks our the tiny 2’3″ stuff is. TrainerM said we could have pushed the oxer up another foot and he barely would have noticed.

“see mahm y u so worry all time? i do all the hoppy part, whoakay?”

For our lesson TrainerM repurposed the chute into a cross rail-one stride-vertical-three stride-oxer line. Raglan was on pointΒ and I felt so strong, it was amazing. Even when things didn’t go entirely as planned, I had zero doubt that Raglan was going to do his job and get the line done. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel an inkling of fearβ€”I FELT SO COMPETENT AND POWERFUL.

I can’t get over that feeling of freedom! UGH, THIS HORSE MAKES ME SO EXCITED.

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