Last week’s lesson was again on Frisbee and we jumped. Woo-hoo! It was as exhilarating as I remembered. Now, keep in mind that the last time I jumped was probably more than 15 years ago. So this required a leap of faith (yes, pun intended) for me. Vickie Hearne talks about the faith and trust required to teach a rider and a horse to jump at heights of four feet and over. There is a profound sense of that. Jumping is unnatural for a horse in the sense that they won’t do it when they are at loose in a field (this is why you can keep a Grand Prix jumper in a fenced pasture where the fences are only about four feet high) but they often take as much pride in it as people do.
You can tell when a horse likes to jump. Their ears go forward and they meet the fence with eagerness and joy. This was Frisbee.
He’s a mustang as I mentioned. I also found out that he’s eighteen years old. He doesn’t act like it, and he sure didn’t on Wednesday night. He was so happy and excited (plus the weather was great, cool and dry) that night even though he had already done a lesson before me.
First we did a lot of flatwork, practicing turns on the forehand and haunches, and some leg yields. The hay truck came in while I was riding so Ann, the instructor, had me keep Frisbee focused on me with serpentines, halts, transitions, etc., all at the walk. He was definitely freaked out at the hay truck as it was a huge flatbed 18-wheeler with plenty of lights. He was ready to bolt a few times until I got him listening to my aids. By the time the big scary truck had made it to the hay barn, he was back to paying attention to me.
We cantered a lot and he did run away with me at one point, the stinker, but it was just that he was feeling good. I got him back, and then we jumped and he loved it.
Keep in mind that we were only jumping cross rails, but he was flying over them as if they were two and a half feet or more. So we were definitely catching air. It was so much fun. I thought I’d be scared, but my legs were solid and my position good. I am so happy and pleased that my skills have come back fairly quickly. For sure, a hotter horse is going to be out of my skill level, and indeed, rather than do a straight bar that was barely higher than the cross rails, I opted for discretion. I know my limits. Next week though, I am pretty sure that I will be able to take that jump.
But I am fast approaching the level I was at when I had to leave off riding, basically high intermediate.
So I think I need to get a pony for Christmas. A mustang like Frisbee would be just fine. ;- )