Birthday Jumping Fun

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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A year ago today I decided to celebrate my birthday by jumping Amber for the very first time. She wasn’t very straight but she was very keen!

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Since then it has become clear that she is born to jump. She’s built for it and she absolutely loves it. The only issue is riding her power and her enthusiasm. Amber jumps 80s like they are 120s and 100’s like they are 140s!



She locks on and launches, just running through the bridle. In our BE80s we have generally jumped clear till 2/3rds or 3/4s of the way round the course but by then she is running on and flat and we have had a pole in the 1st 2 events of the season. She did jump clear (yay!) at Speetley but I think we were lucky! And it still took me half a lap to pull her up afterwards!

We hit a low point a few months ago when she literally pinged me right out of the saddle and I was told I needed to work on ME to be able to ride her. I have got away with poor riding for years because I have ridden easy horses and have never done anything either big or technical! That won’t do for Amber. Cue pilates, core work, lunge work, lessons on other horses and practice, practice, practice. I thought we were improving then we hit another low point at camp and I was advised to send her away (to him actually!) because it would take me forever to get her going compared to a pro and she was so good she could do really well with more education. On both of those occasions I felt defeated and hopeless. And both times gave serious consideration to letting her go to a pro for a while.

But the eventing season was about to begin and having worked all winter towards eventing her this season, I was not about to send her off just now. 3 events later and I am having the most fun on a horse I have ever had. The 4 steps forward 3 steps back of the off season have been replaced with Amber being generally awesome during all 3 events.

Me – not so much – but she is doing her bit which is the main thing. I can work on me! SJ faults have gone from 12 to 8 to 0 in the 3. No XC faults in the first 2 events and a silly rider-error for a run past in the 3rd. (Let’s not mention dressage though….)

She is brave, bold, enthusiastic and she gives me so much confidence because I just trust that she will always jump what she is presented to. Always. She just never says no!

Today I celebrated my birthday/jumperversary with another jumping lesson.

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She was great and looking back over the year, I am proud of what we have achieved. Sure, a pro rider would be far further on but I’m in no hurry. I am not ready to step up to bigger tracks anyway even if she is! So we will just continue taking the slow and scenic route. Here’s to year 2 of our jumping adventures.
 
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KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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You hoped she would be your horse of a lifetime, and she certainly looks to be heading that way!

She is absolutely my horse of a life-time. Never thought I'd feel like this about a horse. She just humbles me - that combination of athleticism and power with generosity and kindness.
 
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OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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Well done you for sticking with it. The good talented ones are hardly every sit on and be a passenger. At the end of this you can say 'I did this'

I often say 'I did this, yes the good and bad' but still he is mine.

I hope that after a couple more years you are still smiling after every ride.
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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Thanks OBC. I think that achievements feel more satisfying if they are hard won! The lows make the highs feel really good.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I do have a suggestion about the rider and dressage - tho you may not like it.
It comes from what I have been taught to do when giving an academic presentation. That is to go through the paper (or in your case the dressage test) reading from the page but thinking out the cues and possible difficulties of each movement. Carl Hester's first book goes through many of the dressage movements and paces describing where points can be lost or saved. And your training will have shown you where the strengths and weaknesses are with Amber.
Once you have done that preparation from the printed page, and done it several times, learning the test as you go through it over and over, find a place where you can walk the test - a field or lawn, an unused school or a largish room and mentally allot the dressage letters to their respective places. No need to actually mark them, but you use that area to walk the dressage test. From memory. Walk it two or three times until you dont need to glance at the paper. And then again three times later that day and again the next day.
It is the repetition that will get the test into your head so that it remains there in front of an audience and under pressure.
You also get the benefit of more confidence - once one has practised.
I gave my first presentation using power point this year and my friend forced me to practise, practise and practise which with delivering a lecture takes far longer than just walking a 5 minute dressage test.

I do believe that it is no good just hoping one will remember - there are techniques for learning and repetition is important. If your daughters are helpful, they may even be delighted to help. Or act as audience - which is itself a bit trickier than just practising through on ones own.

Your previous errors may have a pattern to them? If that is the case, pay particular attention to the points in the test where you may go wrong. Remember that it is partly due to the concentration required - your mind gets tired and it is easy then to let your attention slip.

I think one problem with learning the simpler dressage tests is that they tend to repeat themselves - movements are ridden first on one rein and then on the other, so one thinks one needs only to learn half the test and the rest is a repetition of that but it isnt - there is always at some point a variation - for instance once doesnt do the walking of the diagonal on the long rein twice, nor the give and take of reins. So one has to learn the test right through from start to finish and not permit one's brain to take short cuts.

It is human intelligence which encourages us to find simpler and easier ways to so something. But in this case one has to go back and be very basic. The sophisticated stuff has already been done in training the horse or writing the lecture. The final memorising and rehearsing is boring, basic and offers no immediate rewards. But with Amber doing so well at the jumping you need to put that basic work in. It isnt rocket science.

And by the way - I too think you are better training her yourself. So it is you she is used to working with. Have known aspiring eventers who did the other and it doesnt always work out, especially if the trainer is a man. But maybe you need a trainer to teach you how to learn tests?
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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Thanks @Skib for taking the time to reply. I am glad you think I should train Amber myself. I hope you are right.

Thanks for test learning advice too. Sadly for me, I find it very hard even with huge amounts of effort! I learnt that test inside out and back to front. I wrote it out in a more memorable way (I created a poem of rhyming couplets for the moves) which I put onto an MP3 player and played over and over. I mapped out the arena in the garden and 'rode' it again and again. I did it from memory on Amber in the school. I recited it aloud twice a night before bed. And STILL I went wrong which is infuriating!!

The main problem I have is that I have an acquired brain injury that makes patterns/spatial awareness very difficult (verging on impossible) for me. (If you understand centiles, I score below the 0.1st centile on tasks involving spatial awareness. The same injury led to my epilepsy).

So I compensate with verbal skills and rely on self talk to ride each test. Essentially I have to recite the test to myself. If I lose focus because of a distraction then I lose my place in the test and go wrong. In the most recent error of course a judge in a neighbouring arena rang her bell which I worried momentarily was for me. So I lost focus which meant the canter transition was not set up correctly and Amber struck off on the wrong leg. So I had to correct that and then 'lost' where in the poem/test I was.

So this time I have tried something new - learning it backwards. I have been practicing just the final centre line, then the move before that and the final centre line, then 2 moves before etc. So by the time I know the whole test the later stages will be the most familiar. My theory being I am moving into more familiar territory as my brain gets more tired!

I shall keep you posted as to whether that works!!

Learning show-jump and XC courses is also hard for the same reasons. I can't 'see' where to go by having a mental map of the course. Maps and me don't get on! I have to instruct myself where to go. (Eg sharp left after fence 5 or up the hill to the left after fence 14 or whatever.)

My other option MAY be to register as disabled and see if I am allowed to ride with a caller which one trainer suggested was an option I could explore. But I'd rather avoid that if possible.
 

Lissie

Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2016
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Great update, she looks fab as do you. I wouldn't send her away either. I know what you mean about humbling, I feel the same about Lottie, I admire what my little 15hh scruffy pony can do so much.
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
7,523
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Raininghamshire
Thanks @Skib for taking the time to reply. I am glad you think I should train Amber myself. I hope you are right.

Thanks for test learning advice too. Sadly for me, I find it very hard even with huge amounts of effort! I learnt that test inside out and back to front. I wrote it out in a more memorable way (I created a poem of rhyming couplets for the moves) which I put onto an MP3 player and played over and over. I mapped out the arena in the garden and 'rode' it again and again. I did it from memory on Amber in the school. I recited it aloud twice a night before bed. And STILL I went wrong which is infuriating!!

The main problem I have is that I have an acquired brain injury that makes patterns/spatial awareness very difficult (verging on impossible) for me. (If you understand centiles, I score below the 0.1st centile on tasks involving spatial awareness. The same injury led to my epilepsy).

So I compensate with verbal skills and rely on self talk to ride each test. Essentially I have to recite the test to myself. If I lose focus because of a distraction then I lose my place in the test and go wrong. In the most recent error of course a judge in a neighbouring arena rang her bell which I worried momentarily was for me. So I lost focus which meant the canter transition was not set up correctly and Amber struck off on the wrong leg. So I had to correct that and then 'lost' where in the poem/test I was.

So this time I have tried something new - learning it backwards. I have been practicing just the final centre line, then the move before that and the final centre line, then 2 moves before etc. So by the time I know the whole test the later stages will be the most familiar. My theory being I am moving into more familiar territory as my brain gets more tired!

I shall keep you posted as to whether that works!!

Learning show-jump and XC courses is also hard for the same reasons. I can't 'see' where to go by having a mental map of the course. Maps and me don't get on! I have to instruct myself where to go. (Eg sharp left after fence 5 or up the hill to the left after fence 14 or whatever.)

My other option MAY be to register as disabled and see if I am allowed to ride with a caller which one trainer suggested was an option I could explore. But I'd rather avoid that if possible.[/QUOTE

I don't have any reason to not learn my tests other than a very bad memory. I do what @Skib suggested. I lay in bed at night running over them 'riding them' in my head. I pace them out as. I just can't remember them.

I normally do two tests every time I can normally remember 1 but the second always has to be called. More so that they are ll long arenas now so more movements and letters. it is getting worse as I am moving towards elementary. I was so pleased with myself the other week when I remember both tests and my score was better because i 'rode' the tests. However as I was thinking about the next movement I was not also preparing him correctly for it.
 
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