Posted by: shannonc | June 10, 2009

Goodbye, crossrails – hello, backseat!

Familiar fact pattern:  lesson day dawns.  It begins to rain.  Wet, dirty pony exits trailer and enters “Save the Herd!” mode, in spite of hay pacifier – prompting, I am not kidding you, snickers from complete strangers.  One of them, stifling outright fits of giggles, even told me, “that is a pretty funny face!”  Silly pony!

It is not actually raining during our lesson, which is a relief, as we’ve been looking forward to our date with Stadium Decor, Part 2, in preparation for the big, scary 18″ move-up at Hitching Post in VT this weekend. 

I am, once again, the laughingstock of the lesson – a status which I am happy to refresh as often as necessary so long as it’s because the pony makes me look like a liar!  I keep inching him along in the jumping, waiting for him to start saying no.  What I mean by this is that on pony jumping lesson days, I wake up and rummage through the dresser for a shirt I can tuck in so that when I land in the dirt, I have some extra defense against ring rash. 

I continue feeling the need to remind about the history (well I have to don’t I, if it’s not on display?!), but in general was actually somewhat calmer this week.  It was Sarah’s turn for knee-jerk jump edits – while the ring was being set up, the rolltop was mentioned, and she piped right up:  we’re not doing that!  I don’t know how Meredith puts up with us.  “You don’t have to jump it…this time…” she said, giving us the evil you-know-what’s-in-store-for-you laugh.

The pony has not seen so many jump decorations in a very long time.  He did some peeking, but never offered to throw on the brakes.  In short he jumped like a green pony, not a naughty one.  Some worrying, a couple fairly big overjumps, one giant spook at a moving panel, and an offer to buck on landing.  In keeping with my don’t-trust-the-pony mantra and general wish to remain in the saddle despite the tucked-in shirt insurance, I renewed my acquaintance with the backseat (thank you Blue for my training).  I will cheerfully get left behind at every single fence if it helps get us to the other side as a unit and I don’t thump him on the back or yank on his mouth.

Sarah and Meredith both seemed amused by my general lack of trust in the little creature, but didn’t complain about my defensive riding.  Meredith even said (trying to wipe the smirk off her face) that the reason he’s jumping agreeably may be related to getting this amount of support. 

Afterwards I realized that almost everything we jumped was 2′ to 2’3″ or a bit more, rather than 18″.  I’m really happy about this – it’s a good step toward the Classic at the end of June.

The canter needs fixing.  It’s a whole lot better – we cantered more fences than we trotted – but he is pretty heavy, and I can’t fix it with a simple kick because the loading is more onto his shoulder than his jaw.  Kicking actually makes him heavier because I get more velocity dump in the front end.  Ugh.  He needs strength and practice, but I think it’s also time to try another bit.  Not before this event, but soon.  Meantime I need to be extra quick and remind myself to sit almost all the time.  There were a few moments I got lift, but I was throwing so many random aids out there I’m not even sure which ones got the response.  I’ll try to sort this out a little more on Thursday.

I did get to look on enviously as Sarah and Buck cruised around making everything look smooth and easy.  Instead of yelling corrections, Meredith was reduced to telling her, “perfect, perfect, perfect!” after every fence.  Talk about a payoff for hard work!  I hope you were paying attention Kisses!



  1. Aw! Thanks! =)

    You didn’t even TELL me this was posted yet!!!!!

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