Considering a change of pace

I had a hideous jump school on Gina on Sunday.

Like, totally hideous.

Like, refuse a jump she jumped last week hideous. Three times. And in a very fussy way.

Moe, on the other hand, hasn’t refused a jump in years.

I’m even tempered and very consistent with disciplining horses that do not go over jumps. Likewise, I am exuberant and consistent in praising horses for doing the correct thing (jumping). I am certain that Gina understands it is her job to go over fences. However, Gina makes it a habit to refuse most jumps on the first approach; she usually jumps fine after that, but it isn’t confidence-inspiring. I can usually feel that she’s backing off, but no amount of leg, voice, or whip can prevent her from putting on the brakes.

As an event horse, Gina won’t have the opportunity to school the jumps before she competes. I am not interested in spending time and money hauling her to a show to be eliminated.

Gina’s made great progress in the last few years: she’s calmer, seems happier, and is actually, you know, jumping. But I don’t trust her to go over the fences that are in front of her. I just don’t feel it.

Currently, another horse cannot fit into the budget. I’m reluctant to sell either of my horses, as they are old and there’s an auction nearby that regularly ships horses to slaughter. Moe and Gina are not really for beginners, but I don’t know who else they’ll appeal to with their advanced age. (They’re sound and very healthy, but you know how it goes.)

Until one of my horses is sold or dies, I can’t search for a new prospect. I’m planning to take Gina to a couple of schooling shows this spring to see how it goes; she may surprise me. And of course, she’ll be making the dressage show rounds.

In the meantime, I’m considering taking polo lessons again. (I played for about a year when I lived in Wichita, Kansas. I was not very good.) Polo was the most fun I’ve ever had on horseback- I really enjoyed the camaraderie of teammates and the excitement of the sport itself.

Playing arena polo in Wichita.

There are a couple of clubs in the Tulsa area that offer lessons. I think it might be a good break from the frustration I’m feeling from Gina and the boredom that sets in from hours in the tiny indoor, endlessly practicing our dressage.

Have y’all ever taken a break from your chosen equestrian sport? Taken up a new one completely?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

16 thoughts on “Considering a change of pace”

    1. I really enjoyed playing and the ponies I played on were so well schooled that it wasn't scary at all! They all had excellent brakes and steering (in some part, thanks to gag bits and draw reins)!

  1. I start babies when I get bored with my sport… mostly because then I fall in love with power steering and it doesn't really matter what we're endlessly schooling – I'm amazed that I can STEER! Hah hah. I would love to try polo some day.

    1. ME TOOOO. But seriously, I ask around at the barn when I get bored- "Do you want me to ride that? Has that ever jumped? Do you want it to?" Unfortunately, there aren't any greenies right now!

  2. I feel your pain on the jump thing. Ive never had a horse that sucks back/refuses the first time everytime. Like. That wont work for shows.

    As for switching, I havent switched around since I was a teenager but I loved gaming in 4H! Now, if I get frustrated I just go for a gallop or trail ride!

  3. I think this proves Gina has an internet connection and reads your blog. She didn't like that you were ruining her street…er barn…cred.

    Sorry to hear. But yay for new opportunities too! Polo would be awesome! maybe she has always dreamed of running others over.

  4. Polo looks awesome, I was really hoping to have a go when I visited Argentina but sadly we ran out of time. Just means I have to go back 😉
    (Yes I could try Polo here – but Argentina is soooooooo much more fun!)

  5. Polo is a lot of fun, I played regularly when I was younger!

    After my mare retired from showing she tolerated me doing some stick and ball practice on her…. would Gina let you do this? Might be a fun change of pace

  6. Yes to polo! I switched from eventing and dressage to hunter/jumper when I was 18. I didn't even think twice about it, especially as I experience complete abject terror at even the thought of xc jumps.

  7. polo sounds like so much fun!!!… and Gina's stopping habit sounds super frustrating. hopefully she WILL surprise you at the schooling shows!!

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