I Cannot Brain Today


Jump School As Performed By A Lobotomy Patient

So, my plan for Tuesday evening was a jump school since, you know, I have a horse trial on Sunday and I haven't jumped a full course since the fall, and haven't jumped anything resembling a stadium fence since April.

But, work stress being a huge factor in my mental state, things didn't quite go the route of Magical Fantastic Jump Time.

While grooming and tacking up generally helps me get in the zone for riding, it just didn't happen yesterday, and I went the whole ride without actually ever using my brain.

It was an interesting experience, really; sort of an out-of-body type of thing. I watched the entire ride unfold, noted mistakes and things I should have been doing differently, and yet did absolutely nothing about it.

In the warm up Dino was really dead off my leg and inverted and his hind end was trailing a mile behind him, but did I make the effort to actually use my flatwork skills and put him together? OF COURSE NOT. Because apparently jumping does not require the horse to be moving in balance and with impulsion. Or something.

Note To Self: Shorten your g**d**** reins and put your leg on for heaven's sake.
I had to run Dino up the hill a couple times to get him actually moving. But it worked, so yay?


I started off with a tiny little trot-in bounce, which Dino actually jumped quite adorably:

I'm really enjoying how he's pushing off evenly with both hinds in this picture! Having jumped the bounce successfully, I added in more and more fences. And while nothing absolutely disastrous happened, my lack of coherent thought definitely resulted in more than a few really ugly fences.

Thankfully, my pony is a wonderful being and he jumped EVERYTHING I pointed him at, even when I wasn't being clear about what I wanted or put him in a terrible spot.

Let's leave from five miles away. That sounds like a good idea. 
I essentially just spectated my own riding without being active or making any actual decisions. I'd notice that my canter was long/flat/underpowered/etc., but I never made any changes. I'd think to myself, "Hey, this distance is going to be practically underneath the fence, and we're going uphill, and I totally don't have enough impulsion. OH WELL!" and just continue to come to the jump without actively riding. And so this happened:

Saint Dino.
Though I have to give myself credit for the second time over this green and pink fence, as I did make sure we had more impulsion and I rode to the distance I saw. It was still a bit short, but the overall jump was MUCH better:

Same point in the jump, VASTLY improved form
Throughout the ride, I just didn't feel "with it". I didn't have any stops, I didn't fall off, we didn't crash through anything, it just wasn't good riding.

Yeah that happened..
I'm not happy with the way my leg is swinging all over the place in every photo, although that may partially be the product of my cheating and putting my stirrups up a hole.

While I proved to myself that we're definitely capable of a clear round at 2'3" even if I'm riding like a literal potato, I was not pleased at all with the lack of focus on my part. I'm definitely a little disappointed in myself.

So, to break it down, let's look at the negatives and positives of this jump school:


  • No mental focus
  • Did not adjust canter appropriately
  • Poor leg position
  • Poorly ridden warm-up
  • Poor eye for a distance
  • NO anxiety concerning terrain, jumps, cantering/jumping downhill
  • Did NOT get anxious and hold to a bad distance or chip at the last second
  • Totally relaxed!
  • Took the long one without getting frazzled
  • Dino was very, very, VERY honest
Our ride wasn't the best, it wasn't the worst, I'm not very pleased, but I don't completely hate myself. I have the opportunity to join in a group jumping lesson on Friday evening, but I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll participate. With all the stress happening elsewhere in my life right now, I'm not sure it's the wisest use of my money. On the other hand, it might be good to get in a lesson before the weekend. 

I just don't know. I cannot brain today. 


  1. This was me ALL WEEKEND. Like... wtf was I even doing? But we all have moments like that and it's why we love and cherish our partners who put up with it. Saint Ponies FTW!

    1. DUDE it's days like this when I really, REALLY appreciate the fact that my pony loves me!!!

  2. I think one great thing about eventing is you're sorta forced to get your horse in front of your leg and underneath himself since dressage is first! Or at least that's the idea! I can only imagine how embarrassing my first HT will be this year, based on the shit show that was my first jumping lesson (where I only barely managed to not get bucked off by my very keen pony). You know that Dino can step over pretty much all the fences you'll be asking him to jump this weekend, so don't sweat the details too much, you're gonna have a blast!

    1. You and Riley will be FINE at your first HT! Thankfully our dressaging has been on point so far this spring, so I am hopeful that all of that good balance and connection will cary over to the jumping phases! P.S. let me know where you'll be this season! I am considering doing either the Flora Lea or Plantation starter trial on 6/7 :)

  3. Don't give yourself a hard time. Your leg looks pretty solid to me! I also love Dino's "Forward mighty steed" face :)

    1. Thanks!! The more I looked at the photos the more I saw that in the "slipped leg" shots it was because Dino took the long one and I wasn't quite with him - I feel better about that now!

  4. You forgot to list "freaking sweet pictures" among the positives. Also that fail photo totally needs to be a meme. ;-)

    1. Please feel free to meme-ify it! I love having a pro photographer for a husband. So convenient.

  5. ugh i hate those moments of clarity where i just know that it's not gonna go well... and yet i change nothing...

    but seriously tho it always feels worse than it looks (esp when you've got all those amazeballs freshly painted jumps!!). you guys are an obviously educated and capable pair - the rust will shake loose in no time flat :) good luck with all the stress!

    1. Thank you, friend! My BO did an AWESOME job on the jump stripes, didn't she?! And turns out our biggest fences from that school were around 2'9" ish.. so hopefully I can get my act together for 2'3" :)

  6. Those freshly painted jumps are beautiful! Dino is so lovely with his neck and his knees. I also second the solid leg. :-)

  7. Everyone has off days; heck sometimes I feel like posting is a struggle, much less jumping.

    I would say another positive note is you now have some super cute galloping photos up the hill!

    1. Ack, yes, we just hope the off days don't happen at a show!

  8. Majestic as FACK!

  9. Ugh.. for a "fail", those photos are still gorgeous! Also - love the mini standard. That's more my height!


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