My first Jump 4 Joy blog, and I’m sat where I was when I applied for the ambassador position - where all admin is done... on the bike at the gym, you know, 2 birds 1 stone and all that ;)
I’m a showjumper by trade but I tend to follow the career my horses seem to enjoy the most so, Blue my ‘eventer,’ could throw some almighty tantrums when jumping. Dressage however, he loved it. We had a score of 80% once and we competed successfully up to advanced medium before he semi-retired.
Cortinus was a bit backwards when I first had him so we did a lot of hacking and XC to take the pressure off. He loved it but was rather clumsy so after our 4th fall I started focusing on just show jumping, working on quicker thinking and accuracy but slightly safer!
After jumping some newcomers and fox rounds, today was our return to the XC course, training at Tweseldown with the wonderful Ben Hobday! I’d been looking forward to this since April and the only worry I had was him slipping or faceplanting over a fence, but he pretty quickly added something new to the mix. He came to me as a bit of an unruly 4yr old, but with me he had a bit of a lifestyle change, and he’s always been pretty sane and safe compared to my previous steeds. Except today... today in the warm up he decided as it was an exciting occasion I might like to practice my back-tuck somersaults from my gymnastic days. Turns out I need to work on my landing as head first is not the way to go! Now I’ve sat some rears in my time but when your stirrup leathers follow you down, you know it was a biggun! So, as much as I hadn’t planned to greet Ben with misplaced mascara and what felt like one eye freestyling into the back of my head, that was all I had to offer as he called us over whilst I was remounting off a table.
The clinic was great, after jumping the wrong first fence (blaming the head injury for sat nav error) I then let the other riders be pathfinders as an attempt to save any dignity I might have left! However, by the end we had redeemed ourselves by jumping some pretty technical lines and took home a lot of things to think about!
The best thing I took away was the need to keep a powerful canter. That power allows you to get to a fence confident that if the stride isn’t there, you can sit up and wait for another, you’ll only ever be half a stride out so by sitting up you’re making room to hit the perfect stride or contain the power to help jump you out of any trouble. If you accelerate you lengthen out the power which can produce a diving sort of jump, not ideal! I proved this point rather well through a tight zig zag of fences where I saw a long stride to the second part which led to me losing the power and control of the shoulder on landing, missing the third part. Second time round, I sat tall, created room for an extra one and hit the last part perfectly!
Next month I’m coaching at pony club camp and if that doesn’t provide enough entertainment we’ve got lots of other training planned too!
Thanks Elly x