Going The Distance

I spent last week house-sitting for my friend Holly, and while I thought I’d have plenty of time to ride, it just didn’t work out. I drove back to my house nearly every day to supervise the last of the subcontractors installing our hallway floor (hardwood) and carpets in the three bedrooms. I’m glad that’s over.

I went to the barn yesterday and saddled up Moe. He hasn’t been ridden in about a week and a half, so I intended to run through some dressage work and hop over a couple of fences. Our dressage work was okay. He spent most of the ride behind my leg; when I ask him to get on the bit, he does, but his impulsion drops to just above zero! Now I remember why I have a little pair of nubby spurs in my tack trunk.

I decided to jump him over the split-rail fence and the log pile just a couple of times. The last few times we’ve jumped, it’s been a mixed bag. Sometimes our distances are good, sometimes they’re long, and they’re rarely short.

Well. Yesterday was just a huge, awful mess. Every distance to the split rail fence was terrible. Every distance was also short. At one point, I felt like Moe was heaving himself over a puissance wall! I tried my very best to be quiet and supportive with my hands and legs, but without fail, every approached ended with us chipping in.

“The only reason you didn’t fall is because I’m applying
for sainthood.”

We took a short break and walked around the field while I contemplated what was going wrong. After a failed attempt to record one of our jumps by putting my phone in a tree (the battery died) so I could see what I was doing, I decided we’d jump the split rail fence twice more: once into the field, once out of the field. Into the field was a disaster. We chipped in badly and I thought for sure we’d brought the top rail down. (We didn’t.) I circled Moe around and set him to it once more. I rode more aggressively; since we typically take long distances, I thought increasing our stride and pace might help us even out whatever awful short spot voodoo magic had been worked. Moe disagreed and ducked out at the last second.

Moe isn’t a horse who usually refuses, so I knew I must be doing something really wrong. I set him to it again, only to have him slide to a halt. I couldn’t even be very annoyed with him. I sighed, picked up a canter, and very firmly put my left leg and hand on him- he sailed over it (after chipping in) and I called it a day.

Definitely not one of our finer moments, but it made me grateful I have a horse who’ll usually pull me through a bad distance. He’s forgiven for stopping a couple of times, because I’d be sick of awkward jumps too!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

4 thoughts on “Going The Distance”

  1. I always feel like the less I mess with Henry and the more pace I get (and keep constant to the fences), the better our distances are lol! But some days I can't do anything right!!!

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