Today is the turn of our first jump lesson!
I am rather lucky to have a UKCC Level 3 Coach as my Aunt!
(Joanne Burns-Firth) And she does regular pole work & jump clinics at Hill House so I would be a complete fool to not take advantage of them and book a lesson.
Aladdin was a complete fidget bum to groom and was determined he was going to break loose by putting his head under the lead rope and hoping as he pulled his head up it would take the headcollar with it (this has happened too many times to even count now.)
He was also a muppet to tack up and kept trying to nip me which instantly made me think ‘uh-oh’ this is him telling me he’s not in the mood for a ride today. Luckily I discovered he was actually biting for me pocket where his treats were so he got a tap on the nose and told to not be impatient- they should really make sniff proof equestrian coat pockets!
The warm up schools were empty so we went to go in the small indoor to warm up, there were quite a few horses and riders around who were waiting for lessons or had hired a school. Would he let me on at the mounting block? Would he heck! The stubborn ass kept waiting for me to clamber onto the block (which is the wobbliest mounting block ever) and then strolling off towards the horses in the car park. After a fair few failed attempts I just ‘went for it’, with one leg in the stirrup he started wandering off as I tried to shove my other jelly leg in also.
He seemed quite calm in the warm up as we walked around the edge, not too bothered about his scary shadow tonight either.
As I asked for trot he threw his head up a couple of times and threw in some bucks hitting me across the face with his plaits! My brave pants had suddenly fallen off and I was as nervous as they come. I instantly text my other half asking him to get to the yard pronto as I needed reassurance and potentially scooping up.
He carried on being grumpy and resisting my leg until fortunately Emily and Brian turned up to watch our lesson and at that he behaved- im sure he likes to make out im a complete fibber!
By the time it was our turn to go in the big indoor he had completely calmed down and Ry had turned up also.
He trotted around the arena almost perfectly again and was back listening to me, phew!
Auntie Joanne set up some trot poles for us and I had to stay in the jump position and imagine there was a pin on my seat, and its safe to say I would have got pricked a few too many times.
After a few go’s the last trot pole became a small upright, which he popped over very lazily. I was told to squeeze at the last pole as if I was asking for an upward transition and to land with a few strides of canter. The first attempt was a fail as my canter brain block set in and resulted in me shifting my weight back as for him to slow down.
Once I relaxed and realised Aladdin won’t always throw in a buck going into canter we almost got the hang of it.
The next red and black jump proved a tad trickier as we had three refusals so I had to put on my angry pants, shorten my reins and push him completely central with my legs (with optional growling noise).
We did just three consecutive jumps at the end of the lesson but I completely loved it and felt so much more confident and relaxed as he cantered a few strides between fences, he actually over-jumped the last fence and gave me riders tourettes but I didn’t want the lesson to end.
For some people watching on the jumps would have looked like absolutely nothing but to me they were just perfect and a positive step (or two) in the right direction.
Notes & Homework;
-Buy new cheese grate stirrups
-Do lots of lower leg exercises
-Remember children may be present so try not to swear