Moe the jumping machine

Both horses had their regularly schedule trims today. The farrier discovered a small bruise on Gina’s right hind heel; it’s nearly healed, but he recommended I give her a few days off anyway. So I embarked on a jumping adventure with Moe.

The part of the property I typically use as a jumping area is being used for a wedding next weekend. Setup starts Wednesday, so I figured I’d get in a jump school before I hauled my jumps elsewhere.

The jumps were set up nearly identically to the way they were when I last schooled Gina over a small course, except instead of a 4 stride line, it was a 2 stride line. I had the isolated vertical set as a crossrail with a pole on top at about 2’7. One of the jumps on the line was at 3′, the other at 2’9.


Moe was acting totally bonkers while we warmed up; he refused to trot and would only walk and canter. “Canter” is a term I’m using loosely, as it was a hand gallop at its slowest point and a nearly-out-of-control “I just came off the track yesterday” gallop at its fastest.

While Fruitcake got his willies out, I attempted to use the neckstrap I’d finally remembered to affix to my horse. I have a terrible habit of over-releasing. I like to think this is a better alternative than constantly hitting my horse in the mouth by not releasing, but it makes a lot of things difficult. Turning in the air. Turning rapidly after a jump. You get the idea. The neckstrap is an old belt; I practiced reaching forward and grabbing it while we were zooming round at Mach 10. It went okay.

I took him over the isolated vertical a few times before recruiting the farrier’s wife to take a video of us jumping and running around like the maniacs we are. One of my favorite things about Moe is that I never worry about if he’s going to go over a jump. He’s very reliable. So over the vertical, I concentrated on staying out of his way, grabbing the neckstrap, and finding a distance. It went pretty well; we had good distances every time. Twice, they were spot-on. Once, we were long, but I saw it, took it, and things were fine.

Now, of course, as soon as someone was recording our ride, I forgot how to ride. Moe forgot he knew any speeds other than light-speed.


We took the vertical nicely, took a very long turn to the line, and promptly had the ugliest distance ever to the first jump. He pulled it with his hind legs; whether that is from our hideous approach or because I did something like sit on him in the air, I don’t know. I’ll have to watch the video again. We squeezed a very awkward two strides into the line, Moe wrenched around like a hooked fish over the second jump, and we landed without incident.

I sent him on to the vertical again. He enthusiastically galloped around, ignoring my requests for a turn, until he belatedly realized “Oh, what? OH! Pulling on the right rein means turn right!” We took a decent distance to it and managed to slow down to a walk within half a mile of landing. Success?
I’ve apparently forgot how to jump. At least the horse remembers.
I didn’t want to keep the farrier’s wife waiting around taking videos while I attempted to get a few less ugly jumps in, so I thanked her profusely, stuck my phone in my boot, and took Moe around a couple more times. We improved on the line and made better turns before we called it quits. 
I think Moe would have happily jumped a dozen more times, but yours truly was sweating bullets and desperately needed to use the ladies’ room/stall. He cooled out quickly, got brushed, smothered in fly ointment, and kicked out in the pasture. 
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that fearless jumping horse is 19. Shouldn’t the arthritis be kicking in now? 

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

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