Friday, December 7, 2012

Leap of Faith

By the time I got to the barn Tuesday night, the temperature had dropped ten degrees and the rain was hammering the roof of the barn.  I was shivering from cold and from anxiety, my stomach turning flip flops. It was jump lesson night.  I went over and told Laura that I was feeling nervous and anxious and wasn't sure I could do this.

"No problem" she said, "Just get on and maybe you'll just ride around in jump tack tonight."

So I got on.  I was a ball of tense energy and Tessa picked up on it, refusing to move forward freely and spooking at both ends of the arena.  Still, we pushed forward into a warm up. It was ugly looking, but we both got moving.

While the other two girls jumped cross rails, Tessa and I were instructed to go over a small stack of ground poles at a trot.  And if we felt like it, we could canter over it.  We did both.  Then she raised it to a crossrail and we jumped that a few times. 

I really wish I could draw a picture of the way the jumps were set up, but since currently I haven't solved my picture dilemma I'll just have to try and explain it.  There were five jumps set up at angles from one end of the arena to the other.  The standards were touching each other but the jumps were at opposite angles going down the line.  We started on a right lead and then switched after each jump.  I didn't have to do the more advanced exercise, which involved very tight turns.  But (can I get a drumroll please?) I rode a course.  Of more than five jumps.  Which means I can cross that off my pony club list.

Tessa was good.  The first time we tried to go over a larger cross rail, she went from canter to trot to stop.  It was totally my fault because I was unprepared and more than a little nervous.  She heard me say "I don't think we should do this."  And she listened.  Good pony.

She also got a bit frustrated at me launching my upper body and tensing up before each jump, so when I would land too far forward she would throw her head around and pitch forward.  Which sent me more forward.  Nerve wracking for me, but it sure was an effective way to communicate!  "Mom!  GET OFF MY NECK!"

Laura said that once I got in the air, I had great position and things were fine but that I threw myself over the jump before we got there and that was what Tessa was reacting to.

I did the course twice, only having to repeat a few jumps.  When I was done I was completely wiped out.  Leila was riding in my lesson and at the end, she hopped on Tessa and took her over the hard course with tight turns and higher jumps.  The first few were pretty bad, with Tessa careening around and jumping with her feet hanging every which way.  With the tight pattern, she only had four strides of turning before the next jump.  However, after her first time through she got the hang of it.  She's so little and flexible that the tight turns were easy for her.  And once she got balanced and ready to jump she did a brilliant job.

Countdown of only two weeks until the jumping clinic!