Not Ruined. Thank God.

After last week’s fairly shitty solo jump school at home, I was in dire need of another jumping lesson.

Not gonna lie, I was having one of those “oh god, did I ruin my horse in one ride” mini panic attacks. Short version of what happened a week before: I just could not get my canter right, which made all of my distances total shit (as in, I missed really badly several times in a row), which finally made Henry mad enough to stop. While I definitely deserved it, I still tapped him twice on the butt for stopping at a little 3′ vertical. His job is to jump the jumps as long as it’s safe to do so, and he could have, he’d just gotten tired of my monkey riding. Fair enough, I had that coming, but you still have to do your job even when I don’t do mine.

After that he came unglued enough to where I had to drop my whip completely, because he was cantering in place and wanting to run THROUGH everything. Apparently I seriously hurt his feelings with two butt taps. Duly noted. A few days later I went out and cantered a couple of jumps on a circle until all seemed fairly okay, but he was still kinda grumpy in general. Feelings, he has so many of them.

delicate flower

So naturally I spent all week internally freaking out about having ruined my perfect saintly horse. That’s normal, right? When we got to Trainer’s place on Friday I filled her in on what had happened the weekend before. She just kind of giggled at our ridiculousness (I know I’m crazy, this is not news to me) and set up a vertical with canter poles to help address our rhythm issue. After hopping through it both ways and steadily raising the height (while she said the word “balance” approximately 1500 times) things were clicking again.

Since we seemed pretty much back to normal by that point (Henny grudge: over), she put the jumps up to 3’3″-3’6″ and made a course for us.


Other than the fact that I really could not make myself wait to the base of the barrel vertical when I didn’t see the distance, it was actually fine. At some point I will learn that just because it’s bigger, I don’t have to attack it when I don’t see anything. But uh… at least I’m not pulling all the way to the base? Maybe eventually I’ll find the middle ground. Maybe. Let’s just take this as a small victory.

The good news is, Henny was very very rideable and totally back to his normal self, thank god. I didn’t ruin him, I just pissed him off and we had to visit Trainer for some relationship counseling (aka reminding me how to ride). Crisis averted. Ah, the life and times of an amateur horse…

33 thoughts on “Not Ruined. Thank God.

  1. I love the trainer = relationship counselor analogy, haha. Glad things are clicking with you and Henny again! Ya’ll look badass over those jumps 😀

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  2. pfft you can’t ruin him he is perfect. And remember a bad day of riding for you is still loads better than some of us 🙂 Love the photos!

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  3. It’s amazing how much crap they take from us, and how willing they are to forget it if we just get our shit together. Glad the two of you figured it out. You look great!

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  4. Yes. I could wallop my previous horse if he transgressed, i.e. bit, kicked, etc. He would accept it stoically. Heaven help me if I gave him a tiny wake-up tap on the shoulder. He would stop everything & have a come-apart at the injustice. Caesar had strong opinions on right & wrong. Caesar had strong opinions, period.

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  5. That serpentine exercise looked difficult, but you guys look great! I think we all have those “I broke my horse” moments. You’re right, that’s just part of being an ammy. Henny looks amazing though, and all I could think watching your video is damn, I want quiet hands like that.

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    1. You know what has really helped my hands lately? Shortening my g-damn reins. Rocket science, right? I FINALLY figured out (after how many decades of riding?) that if I keep my reins short enough to where I can see them easily out of my peripheral (but still have them very close to the neck), I’m a lot steadier both with my hands and with my shoulders. Henry is naturally quite downhill, so it’s helped me keep him more up in front and control my upper body a lot better. As soon as my reins start getting long, things start getting wonky again. That’s a recent development, total DUH moment on my part lol.

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        1. It def works for me with this horse. No clue if it’d work for someone else or a different horse… but once I figured out “if your reins are the right length, it looks like THIS”… that helped me a ton. I used to get told to shorten my reins pretty much constantly lol. I do still have that tendency to slip them sometimes, especially if the distance is hairy, but I think I’m faster to shorten them back up and get his front end elevated again rather than dragging around on the forehand so much and leaning at him. I dunno why that was such a lightbulb for me, but it was.

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  6. I can totally relate to this. I think I’m perpetually just trying not to ruin Annie. She tries very hard and I don’t want to take advantage of that by riding like a total fruit too often and breaking her.

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    1. In attempt to make better recaps, all videos shall now be edited to under 2 minutes, with the majority of the “cantering around” edited out. Hopefully that’s better?

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  7. I definitely have wayyy too many “I ruined my horse” meltdowns. Thank goodness for good friends and good trainers who help me snap back to reality, and a way-more-forgiving-than-he-probably-should-be horse. You guys looked fantastic through that course in the video though! (Casually/eagerly waiting for the day my horse and I are poised and balanced enough for some 3’3″/3’6″ courses..)

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  8. I feel the same way, if it’s bigger and I don’t see the distance, then CHARGE! It will show up, right? Just run at it faster. That *always* works for me, hah.

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    1. My GPA fits a lot better without my hair in it. Some days I care more about looks, some days I care more about the comfort of my head. 😉 Ponytail days have gotten more frequent lately. Gonna keep using the GPA until it hits its expiration date, in an effort to keep the fancy Samshield looking nice.

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  9. When I rode with Susie in the beginning of November she said something that has stuck with me about mistakes (bc I’m always worrying about riding shitty and doing my
    Henry an injustice…). She said that horses can take a lot of different mistakes but the same one over and over is where we create problems- that’s really stuck with me.

    Looks like Henry didn’t hold anything against you and you two were back in the groove 🙂

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  10. Poor Henry and that awful whip. I still remember a certain show where one tap made the hamsters explode for the rest of the weekend and then some. Lol. But you guys are looking so good and grown up these days! Thank goodness for Thoroughbreds and their (mostly) forgiving natures.

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  11. As a kid (and part of my early amateur days too) I was told repeatedly about how I’m ruining my horse or going to ruin my horse. It was really defeating, and I make SO MANY mistakes now trying to avoid the said ruining of my horse. Current trainer finally said to me one day, “You know you really aren’t going to ruin your horse. If you have a problem, I can help you fix it.” I wish I could say that’s cured the ammy angst, but that’s pretty well ingrained. It did ease it somewhat though. Having the right trainer helps so much. Sounds like you and Henry definitely have a great one!

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