Hey everyone, this is Allison, blogging about my biggest accomplishment when schooling cross country for very first time with the Austin Eventing crew! Here I go…
In the past my horse Jitterbug and I have had some issues with trakehners (log jumps with ditches underneath). I considered them scary, and Jitterbug followed my lead, which made her reluctant to jump them. Over the last six months we have trained to the point where Jitterbug would now jump the trakehners without stopping first, although the jump itself was still a little rough. At this schooling I gained a different perspective on how to smooth out the execution of this challenging obstacle.
In the past I had approached the obstacle with my focus not so much on the “quality” of the canter leading up to the fence, but as to when and where Jitterbug would takeoff to jump. This left me having to urge Jitterbug to jump the obstacle. Lisa emphasized that I had to get the ideal canter before I ever thought about jumping the obstacle. That once I had the ideal canter I had to let Jitterbug find where to place her feet, and to trust her to do so.
With this new approach set in my mind, Jitterbug and I approached the training level trakehner. I encouraged the forward and bouncy canter, softened and kept a steady leg coming out of the corner, AND I let Jitterbug find her distance. It wasn’t easy, but after a couple tries Jitterbug jumped it perfectly. Score! Then Lisa sent us to jump the prelim trakehner. I was game, but could I keep my mind focused on my job and let Jitterbug do hers? Once again I tried to apply the right aids and give Jitterbug confidence. We sailed over it with only a slight bobble, which was me, thinking to myself, gosh, this is bigger than I thought. So we came around again and tried to perfect the leap, to execute a clean jump. Jitterbug and I soared over it. I was ecstatic and I gave Jitterbug a well-earned pat.