My horseback riding lesson is the highlight of each week. I started on Willow, learning to catch her, groom her, saddle her, etc. Around week 4 or 5, I switched to Tigger, a younger and occasionally more difficult horse. He has opinions, and I’m learning how to show his stubborn ass that I’m in charge. I switched back and forth between the two for a few weeks, re-learning how to post, learning two-point (prep for jumping), and trotting courses through and around the jumps in the arena, with all the horizontal poles on the ground so I could get better at directing the horse where I want him to go.
All of that was going well, and I was really enjoying it. Then one day, lesson #9 I think, I had just finished a course with the poles on the ground, and then Wilhemina (name changed to protect the innocent) set one of the jumps up to one foot and said, “How do you feel about jumping today?”
SUPER EXCITED was the answer. So I did, and it was awesome.
The middle of that X is a foot off the ground.
From there, she set up all the jumps like that, and my courses around the arena have included LOTS of jumping, and I just can’t tell you how much fun it is. (Hint: SO MUCH FUN!)
A couple of weeks ago (lesson #11, maybe), she had me pick up the speed a little so Tigger starts to canter when he lands the first jump, and the week after that (or maybe it was the end of that week?) I could canter the whole course (starting after the first jump). It’s incredible.
So then this week, she was describing the course she wanted me to take, no different than the others that I noticed. She had me going over two jumps straight down one long side of the area, making a wide turn, and then taking the jump at the far corner on the way back and angling diagonally across the arena to another jump, then stopping at her end. It’s about half the course and pretty typical of what we’ve been doing. I did the long side, took the one in the corner on the way back, and when I was about a horse-length in front of the last one, my brain went HOLY SHIT THAT ONE IS HIGHER.
It looked kind of like this one, except not nearly as picturesque. No uprights on either side, just kind of a dirty white low wall.
The jump went fine, and weirdly, it didn’t feel any higher than the other jumps, which is the first thing I said after stopping. She swears it’s 2 feet high, double the size of the jumps I’m used to. So then I did it again, and THIS time, it felt higher, which is also the first thing I said when I stopped. Turns out I’m not crazy or imagining things just because I knew it was higher. Wilhemina said that the first time we went over it, the distance perfectly matched Tigger’s stride, so he just cantered over it. The second time, the distance wasn’t perfect, so he jumped it, and yes, I actually went higher that time.
I’m jumping two feet! Okay, Tigger is jumping two feet, but I’m not falling off! It’s so cool.
Also, I’m riding Tigger all the time now because he loves to jump, and I guess Willow doesn’t. It means I get more practice enforcing my will, which is something I really need to be better at. There was one point last week where we took a jump because he wanted to, not because I wanted to.
This past week was lesson #13, and it’s wonderful, and I love it.