Friday, May 6, 2016

The Four Words I Never Thought I'd Say...

I like jumping these things, Mom. 
If you've followed this blog at all you know I consider myself a big old chicken when it comes to
jumping. I would never have called myself a particularly bold or confident jumper, but at one point in my life I was jumping 3'. Then I channeled my inner lawn dart and tried to force my head through the first level of the Earth's crust while at a horse show. I've been working on finding my missing mojo ever since.

Some might ask why I continue jumping.  Hell, I ask myself that all the time.  Especially since I love flatting.  I've always loved it. I love trying to make a round, rather than oblong, circle.  Seeing if I can get a shoulder-in that is actually on three tracks, rather than a shoulder-vaguely-moving-in-the-right-direction.  I love that moment when you can feel the horse's back come up and the hind legs swing through.  I love all that stuff.

But I continue the jumping thing to challenge myself.  Because I don't want to give up yet. Because I want to get my mojo back.  Because I want to prove to myself that I can do it, dammit.

So here's the thing: I.Love.Jumping.Indy.  Love it.  He has this stride that makes finding distances feel easier.  Or maybe he's just smart enough to find the distances for us.  Probably a little bit of both.  I don't know how to explain it.

When we're flatting, his stride is long and not as adjustable as I'd like.

Me: Indy, we're shortening your stride now.
Indy: I have a 12' stride.  Why should I shorten it?
Me: Because sometimes we'll need to.
Indy: I'm a hunter. We do 12' strides. 
Me: Noooooo. You're a hunter/jumper/equitation/dressage/hunter pace/all-around horse and sometimes you will need to shorten your stride.
Indy: Pfffftttt. I have a 12' stride. I'm a hunter. Relax, Mom. I've got this.

When we're jumping, I can shorten his stride effortlessly. Or lengthen it. No discussion.

I don't do that control freak/ micromanage him like I've done in the past. I mean, yeah, I do it sometimes, but nowhere near as often.  Not every fence.  Has your trainer ever told you to just let go and "melt" to the distance?  Before Indy the only way I'd have been able to melt to a fence would be by wearing a parka while riding at noon in 90 degree heat.  Let go?  No chance in hell of that happening. Apparently with Indy I've found I can "Let go and melt."  Or "Let go and let God." Kinda feels like the same thing at times.

And Mr. ADD does not see any trolls, dragons, ring gnomes or other nasties when he's jumping.  Nope, all he sees are the fences in front of him.  Mr. ADD becomes Mr. FOCUS.

Who are you calling Mr. ADD? 
So now I don't dread that portion of the lesson when the flatting becomes the jumping.  And if my trainer asks if I want to do something again, or do another course, I do it.  Most of the time without that little voice in my head asking, "Are you sure that's a good idea? We survived the last course, maybe we shouldn't tempt fate."

I'm not saying we're gonna be doing the high performance hunters or the 1.20 jumpers any time soon, but I am definitely saying I love jumping Indy.  Which is a pretty big step for me.