At Speed

How 'bout you learn how to let me be wild and free like the studly EuroPony I am?

I've learned some things about our canter during my recent jumping sessions with Dino.

Dino gets to a point where he "kicks into gear" when jumping - he takes the initiative to go forward and there is a feeling of increased speed and of him pulling me to the jumps, instead of me placing him at a particular distance.

In my brain, sometimes this can feel "too fast" and out of control. Which, to my little control-freak-brain, can be a bit scary!

In reality, it's not "too fast" at all, it's the perfect speed, and the speed at which the fences come up out of stride and Dino is enjoying himself and really into his job.  It's the speed at which I don't have to micro-manage the canter. There's really no such thing as "too fast" with this pony.

So I've been trying to settle into riding him "at speed" when we jump, to hang out and enjoy the ride when he kicks into gear and pulls me towards the fences instead of succumbing to the temptation to haul on the reins and slow him down.

I first really noticed it during the XC portion of my lesson last week. As I aimed Dino at a bigger stacked log jump, I could feel him accelerate. My first thought was, "too fast!" My second thought was, "Go with it." I kept my hands where they were, stretched up a bit to half-halt with my body and ask Dino to get in balance, and let him handle the rest.

And it was one of the most perfect cross-country jumps we've ever jumped. There wasn't a big "setting up" for the fence, the jump just fell right into our rhythm. I thought to myself - that's what all our XC runs need to feel like - smoothly jumping obstacles At Speed.

WonderPony did it again at the jumper show, really locking on and taking me to the fences several times. And several times I had to actively resist the urge to pull him back! But when I let him do his thing and just stayed light in the tack, and balanced him with my body, every jump came up perfectly. When I had to put in more effort to manufacture the canter, or tried actively to place Dino in a certain spot, it definitely didn't feel as smooth.

I'm also continuing to learn that balancing Dino before a fence is still a FORWARD action - our speed shouldn't change, but he should lift his shoulders and be ready to launch.

It's my goal to have bold and speedy courses at Burgundy this weekend!


  1. That's a cool feeling when your horse starts to love his job as much as you do. Have great rides this weekend!

  2. Sounds like you have a very talented pony! My first horse was like that. It is the best feeling in the world.

  3. One of the best feelings in the world! Go wonder pony go!

  4. woooo run Dino RUN!!! sounds like all the pieces are coming together so nicely - i'm ridiculously (and maybe weirdly?) excited for your event!!!!

    1. Not weirdly!! I am (shockingly) PUMPED to get out there this weekend! :D

  5. I strugggleeeeee with pace soooo much. Everything feels way too fast. Working back and forth can definitely make you feel more comfortable asking for it.

    1. WHY IS IT SO HARD?! I feel like we are flying 1,000 miles an hour and are going to crash... but actually we are right on pace and everything comes up out of stride. Ugh. Brains. Can't live with em, can't live without em.

  6. It's way harder than it should be to make our brains take a back seat and let the horse get on with his job isn't it?!?! Sounds like you guys are stepping up and Dino is really enjoying his job. Yay!!


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