Feeling Like Myself Again
There's a feeling you get after you've been sick, or depressed, or just in a funk, when you reach the moment of starting to feel better. It's like you've suddenly discovered how great NORMAL feels, and simply being able to breathe or smile or laugh is a source of joy.
When it comes to jumping, I'm feeling that way.
Dino had Saturday off since he had four pretty intense rides in a row last week, and I arranged with my wonderful hubby to do some jumping on Sunday afternoon. My barn buddy had set up a grid in our jump field, and I was excited to tackle it.
While His Highness was a little cranky to warm up, as per usual within the confines of a fence, once we started jumping he perked right up. After we popped over 2 or 3 little 2' warm-up verticals, I started in on the grid. It was a low square oxer, one stride to a tiny bounce, one stride to a bigger vertical.
To set Dino up for success, I had Michael put the vertical down to a ground pole and lower one end of each fence in the bounce. I wanted Dino to get a feel for the distances before putting the fences up.
I probably didn't even need to do that, since he rolled right through and nailed the whole thing the first time.
So we put the jumps up, and by the last go-around the starting oxer was around 2'3", and the last vertical was 2'9". And this is how that went:
It felt AMAZING! We had the most perfect canter coming in to the grid: powerful, bouncy, and balanced. The distance to the first oxer was perfect, Dino jumped everything beautifully, and what you can't see in the video is how hard he cracked his back over the final vertical. The pommel of the saddle made contact with my stomach. It was awesome.
Thinking back on the ride as I took care of the ponies, I realized that I've gotten back to a level of confidence over fences that I haven't had in quite a while. I don't feel the need to pick down to a distance, or hang onto the reins for dear life, or drive my pony to the base of the jumps from way behind the vertical. The thought of cantering in to a long grid or combination doesn't fill me with dread. 2'9" looked small. I'm starting to again see myself as capable instead of fearful, and it feels really, really good.