Sunday morning Raglan and I had a #crashandburn moment. I hadn’t planned on jumping him, but another boarder had a couple jumps set up and she put one down to 2’0″ for me when she was done. We trotted our way up to it, but he was so busy listening to the ducks next door that his head wasn’t in the game and he slammed on the brakes, took a nosedive down towards the jump, and barely managed to scramble back onto his feet at the last second. I ended up sitting on his neck, but otherwise unscathed.
The next day, TrainerM set up a bounce for our lesson. Raglan’s never been over a bounce. The first was a cross rail and the second was a little vertical, but despite the tiny sizes I had a feeling it would be a big challenge. Still, he warmed up nicely, and he popped over a lone vertical without trouble.
My gut wasn’t wrong, though. Raglan went over the first part, then brake-checked me at the second. My leg wasn’t forward enough and I got thrown over his shoulder. I swan dived straight towards the jump, but managed to kick free and land on my feet before my face could smash into the pole. We got a round of applause, then I knocked the jump over and forced Raglan the Cow to walk over the whole thing with me.
I didn’t get my unplanned dismount on video (booooo!), but TrainerM dropped parts of the jumps down and eventually Raglan figured out how to go over the bounce like a proper horse.
Afterwards I put Raglan on the lunge line and handed him over to TrainerM. We put the bounce up to two verticals and sent him over it riderless. It was a great experience for him! He got to figure out his feet without me there to pressure him. We even put the rails up a couple of holes and he did a great job bounding over them. I want to schedule a time with TrainerM to set up a grid for him to free jump one of these days!
Because of how athletic and savvy Raglan is, it can be hard to remember that he’s really green over fences. There are so many things that he needs to experience before he’s a confirmed jumper. It’s important to follow my instincts and remember that it’s okay to put the jumps down and go back to the basics. It’s easier to set him up for success from the beginning than it is to rebuild his confidence after the fact!