A year ago today I decided to celebrate my birthday by jumping Amber for the very first time. She wasn’t very straight but she was very keen!
Since then it has become clear that she is born to jump. She’s built for it and she absolutely loves it. The only issue is riding her power and her enthusiasm. Amber jumps 80s like they are 120s and 100’s like they are 140s!
She locks on and launches, just running through the bridle. In our BE80s we have generally jumped clear till 2/3rds or 3/4s of the way round the course but by then she is running on and flat and we have had a couple of poles in the 1st 2 events of the season. She did jump clear (yay!) at Speetley but I think we were lucky! And it still took me half a lap to pull her up afterwards!
We hit a low point a few months ago when she literally pinged me right out of the saddle and I was told I needed to work on ME to be able to ride her. I have got away with poor riding for years because I have ridden easy horses and have never done anything either big or technical! That won’t do for Amber. Cue pilates, core work, lunge work, lessons on other horses and practice, practice, practice. I thought we were improving then we hit another low point at camp and I was advised to send her away because I simply was not up to the job of educating her properly. On both of those occasions I felt defeated and hopeless. And both times gave serious consideration to letting her go to a pro for a while.
But the eventing season was about to begin and having worked all winter towards eventing her this season, I was not about to send her off just now. 3 events later and I am having the most fun on a horse I have ever had. The 4 steps forward 3 steps back of the off season have been replaced with Amber being generally awesome during all 3 events.
Me – not so much – but she is doing her bit which is the main thing. I can work on me! SJ faults have gone from 12 to 8 to 0 in the 3. No XC faults in the first 2 events and a silly rider-error for a run past in the 3rd. (Let’s not mention dressage though….)
She is brave, bold, enthusiastic and she gives me so much confidence because I just trust that she will always jump what she is presented to. Always. She just never says no!
Today I celebrated my birthday/jumperversary with another jumping lesson.
She was great and looking back over the year, I am proud of what we have achieved. Sure, a pro rider would be far further on but I’m in no hurry. I am not ready to step up to bigger tracks anyway even if she is! So we will just continue taking the slow and scenic route. Here’s to year 2 of our jumping adventures.