Last Saturday I finally had the magical combination of time, good weather, and an empty ring, so I seized the opportunity to set up some fences and have a little jump school. We hadn’t jumped more than 2 fences since Holly Hill two weeks before and I couldn’t really decide which thing out of my “bag of tricks” to work on, so I ended up setting up a random mish-mash of stuff.
For me – a low wide oxer and a triple bar, to force me to ride all the way to the base but still support with my leg off the ground. For Henry – a big cross rail to help tighten up his sometimes drapey legs and a vertical with placing poles on the approach and landing to get him rocking back on his hind end a bit better. For both of us – a skinny box that was set in a place where we could either ride it as the “in” or “out” of a bending line, or as a very tight rollback from the vertical next to it. Straightness, it matters.
We warmed up, I got Henry out in front of my leg, practiced a lot of adjustability in the canter, and then hopped over a little vertical a few times each way. He was feeling good and happy and attentive, so I went right into our Weirdo Exercise of Random Crap (ha, WERC). I started with the vertical with placing poles, then over to the low wide oxer, the big crossrail, triple bar, and ended with the vertical to skinny box rollback. All no big deal, he gobbled it up happily and landed from the skinny box with a tiny squeal and a few little dolphin-leaps to celebrate his badassery.
At that point I just laughed at him and grinned ear to ear – a grin that stayed in place for the rest of the ride. We hopped through everything a few more times in different configurations, Henry listening and understanding each question as we came upon it, ears up and looking for the next fence. I’m not perfect, he’s not perfect, but we were both having a lot of fun together, and that alone made it the perfect moment. It brings me so much joy to ride a horse like Henry, and it’s so rewarding to have him enjoy his work too. Fun is what it’s all about.