Posted by: shannonc | June 20, 2009

The pony is like a box of chocolates

A selection from the book of Pony jumps over soggy xc course Friday:

Fence 1.  Baby log.  Maybe 12″ on flat ground, trot in.  Pony jumps like a deer.  Four feet up, four feet down, with a nice twist in the body to boot.

Fence 2.  Another baby log.  Uphill, downhill.  Trot, canter.  Pony overjumps then jumps calmly.

Fence 3.  Normal looking 2′ log that I am warned has a troll living underneath.  Pony does not look, he jumps and canters off quietly.  Buck actually looked.  Buck doesn’t look!  World order is reversed.

Fence 4.  2′ box, downhill.  We trot, pony tries to stop by gradually running out of engine, and I stuff pony from a near standstill.  Necessitating instructor direction to tell the pony what’s happening please, not wait for the pony to tell me. 

Fence 5.  2’6″ log rolltop, uphill.  We canter.  Pony approaches and jumps like he has a season of N under his belt.

Fence 6.  2’3″ log, downhill, trot in.  Pony jumps big and yeehaws on landing, offering to throw a little buck in, but in the end holds it to a headshake.

Fence 7.  2′ table, uphill.  We canter in, but only the last 4 strides.  It would have been 5, but pony left one out.


So I have no revelations today because I had no consistency.  Pony likes to keep me guessing!  I can say that the pony did slip, but did not worry about it, which surprised me since as a general rule, the pony likes to worry.  He seemed to have a good time.  I was able to walk him in from the course on a nice long rein, which I was thrilled about – the last time I was out on this course with the pony, his profound meltdown meant we never got into the start box.  I thought this out loud and got a comment that I have done a good job with the pony!  I so appreciate comments like that and keep them to help me get through tough days.  Bless Meredith, she reminded me a few times during the ride that I know what I’m doing.

I also think it’s immeasurably helpful for the pony brain that we have done so much of this work with a buddy.  Not only is it fun to ride with Sarah and Buck, and more economical, he really seems to take confidence from it.  Thank you guys!

We liked the bit – modified gag snaffle similar to the “Wonder” bit.  I did not like the boots.  The 4-straps slipped on his hinds and I did not like the way his legs looked all around when I washed him off.  He seems to have pretty sensitive skin, it’s going to be raining or at least wet Sunday when we compete, and I don’t want to irritate him by dressing him up.  I don’t think he’s going to touch anything at 2’3″ – maybe I will put fronts on him just in case of a slide.

I liked the bigger jumps.  They made for a different kind of airtime than when he just springs up and overjumps – I felt like there was an arc, and a middle to be in in the air.  It was almost like feeling competent again!

Other notes for self.  Keep the feeling of being wrapped around the pony when jumping.  He likes support.  Give him clear direction.  Keep arms soft.  The shorter reins helped today, I just have to work a bit harder to keep my body back with them.  I seem to ride the canter better into the jumps, so canter where possible, but get it early so I have time to make it a good canter.  Late, unadjustable canter resulted in too-long departure today.  Be careful about cruising, he needs seat aids to the jumps.

Go hungry, because I might be tasting the whole box of chocolates!



  1. There really WAS a troll lurking under fence 3…hehehehehe. I wish Buck would jump stadium jumps like that!!!!

    And GF, I hate to tell you this….Fence 6 was 2’6″ at least (BN course!) and you CANTERED in to it. I thought you were nuts but it worked for you!!!!!

    I’d say you’re READY!!!!!!

  2. You need to read again because I don’t know if you read the draft with the thank you in it!

    I’m not very good about estimating heights from the saddle. I’m just going from the rundown Meredith gave me when you were out jumping your last course, and she didn’t mention that particular fence. It did seem kinda big. Hee hee!

    It was a good school and a good way to go into the Classic. It just remains to be seen which green pony personality shows up on Sunday…maybe all of them! When the relaxed and confident one is in charge, he feels great. All I want is more of those fences than the other kinds, and I’ll know we’re going in the right direction :)

  3. :) Even if we clunk the jumps, at least Buck is pretty predictable and sane, haha!!!!

    I LOVE the title….”Pony is like a box of chocolates…..ya never know what you’re going to get!!!!!” hehe

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