Long and Winding Weekend

Friday night, I rode Eli through the course that was set up for the schooling show on Saturday. The course was very simple, an inside-inside-outside-outside kind of thing, jumps set at about 2’3″. Something about the lines was … weird … to say the least. I just decided to stay low key and add a stride coming down the lines. Eli was great, and I called it a night, but a trainer from another barn was there (and I’ve known her for ages) to school her students for the show the next day. I went back up to the ring to ask her if she would walk the lines with me, because they rode weird, especially this one outside line …

Sure enough, while the two inside lines and far outside line walked completely normally, the near outside line walked in basically 4-and-a-half strides. What the hell. One line set wonky like that is enough to throw me off all the distances, which is why I just added a stride everywhere. The trainer said she would make sure in the morning to have the line reset to a regular old 4-stride line. Definitely don’t need a 4-and-a-half stride line during a schooling show!

The show went well, I think. I was there all day working at it, and it wrapped up by about 3 pm, so I decided to hop on Eli and jump around, this time the jumps were at 2’6″ to 2’9″.

I rode like a dumb ass.

I started off by cantering one of the lines, but adding a stride like the night before, and that went well, so I only did it once. Then I decided to canter the whole course, and basically missed very single distance. Could not get out of the lines to save my life. Eli, I’m sure, was like, oh, here we go again, cookie lady rides to one distance and then picks up the reins, I’ll just chip. So that did not go well. My fault for two reasons–no spur (I should know by now to just wear one for jumping), and I don’t think I gave Eli a fair warm up. What I mean by that it, I should have been more methodical and less cavalier. I should have cantered each line separately, asking for the add in each line and halting after each, similarly to how I rode Friday evening. Only then, I should have cantered the course asking for the regular strides.

Now that I had butchered the course, I knew I had to do it again, and this time I asked Eli for a huge canter. We “galloped” through each line, with only a couple of messy, sticky verticals, the mess being my fault. I finished by cantering through the one inside diagonal line where I miffed the distance at the vertical, except this time I closed my outside leg around the turn and hit the perfect spot. Cantering out of the line was no problem. DUH, LEG.

Long day. Lesson learned. But, ah, will it be a lesson remembered next time I jump? Remembering to give Eli a fair warm up will go a long way to having a successful ride.

Sunday, I gave Eli the day off. I’ll ride him tonight, time my 2-point, and work on cantering BIG.


Eli and his jumper pal Top Hat. Sunday mistiness. Too chilly for a proper bath, which Eli desperately needs.

I have ordered a new pair of stirrup irons (which I might review here), and I will be able to try them out Wednesday, so that will probably be the next time I jump Eli. Maybe the rings will be in the new set up with one of my half-courses set!

3 thoughts on “Long and Winding Weekend

  1. sounds frustrating -but good catch on the poorly set fences! sometimes i feel silly going slow and being methodical… but i almost never regret it the same way i do rushing through things and consequently messing up… anyways, hope your next ride goes better!


  2. I feel your pain with the 4-and-a-half strides. My poor little 14.3hh mare has a teeny tiny little stride, which isn’t funny when we have to jump through combinations at shows set for big horses. We either gallop full-out through the combinations to try and get the strides, or just muddle through somehow. Luckily little horses are tough horses, so she’s cool with it.


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