I was going to title this post “heavy duty booty jumping” because a band that I heard live once played a HYSTERICAL song about big butts including that line, but it turns out when you search heavy duty booty without safe search on you end up with … nothing I actually ever wanted to see.
Murray and I have recently unlocked a couple of new jumping achievements — namely, for real, serious, booty-workin’ jumping. It all started in a jump lesson I was having with our assistant trainer a few weeks ago.
I have written before about my struggles with speed, power, stride length, and generally keeping my shit together with jumping. There’s always something, right? If I’m not letting Murray suck back before fences, I seem to be chasing him to them. If I’ve managed to get enough power, I’ve not packaged it appropriately and Murray blasts all over the place. Strides too long, strides too short, strides progressively getting shorter, strides changing shape every few… we have had all of these things.
AT tackled two of our big problems — jumping flat and sucking back before fences — one at a time. (Often if I don’t PUSH Murray to a fence and jump it flat, I let him suck back, as sometimes that beans he’s balancing onto his haunches, but sometimes not.) First, AT had me approach the fences with a really collected dressage canter. I didn’t have to come at them fast, in fact she wanted me to approach them slower than I’m usually comfortable with. Our first couple of approaches were less than ideal — Murray smashed into a 2’9″ oxer face first at one point because he was pooping. But after AT lowered the fences so we wouldn’t have the height to worry about, Murray jumped like his ass was a ROCKET LAUNCHER.
I saw Murray’s knees come up in front of his face multiple times that lesson, and he pushed off so strongly from behind that I found myself laughing out loud. It was outrageous how scope-ily and strongly Murray was jumping. Alas, I didn’t get any media, but it’s okay, I’m sure it will happen again. I hope it will happen again.
So, for more powerful jumping, just ask for a more powerful, sitting canter. Easy, right?
Well, not all the time. But hopefully we can get to a place where it’s easy.
The second thing AT tackled was Murray’s inclination to suck back and shrink his strides as he approaches the fences. That was an easier(ish) fix, though somewhat harder in execution. I basically had to remind Murray that I was really serious that we were going to the fences, but not beat him (because that gives him the wiggins), just remind him that the bat is there and we are going to the fence. That is especially hard for me because I don’t want to let go of the reins in the four strides leading up to a jump.
WHAT. THAT IS HARD. How am I supposed to let go of my reins? I’m not a teenager trick riding my pony around! I’m an adult with a firm grasp upon them at all times lest I fall off and my horse run away and I never get him back again.
So these are two things I fixed, and now there are more things to fix! Like my equitation that kinda flies out the window when we jump bigger fences! And my inability to follow the motion properly with my hands and body.
Why are you so goddamn hard?
(That’s what she said. Yep.)