Skip to main content
Walking 2015

The Blahs

Who thinks it’s a good idea to schedule a lesson full of coursework immediately after 4-day hiatus from riding? Apparently me, because that’s exactly what I did this week. After my vacation to New York, which included Miles getting four days off, I scheduled a lesson on Monday evening. I’m sure you’re all shocked to hear that it wasn’t perfectly perfect.

Grumpy Trotting 2015

My justification for this hair-brained maneuver was that Miles typically enjoys some time off. So when my Trainer and the Barn Manager hatched a plan to set up a big course of jumps over the weekend, and decided to leave it up for Trainer’s Monday evening lessons, I was pumped! With show season fast approaching, I need all the coursework I can get. Format was just like a horse show: warm yourself up on the flat and then come into the indoor to jump. This format by itself poked holes in my training right from the get-go. On Monday, I learned I warm-up for shows differently than I do at home or even for lessons. It’s not a big difference, but my attitude is different enough to cause small changes.

Walking 2015

We did two warm-up jumps, which I opted to trot… and I shouldn’t have. Trotting one is fine, but then I need to canter. Then we went on and strung three fences together, the single we warmed up over and a four-stride line. All of the jumps were fine — I wasn’t super confident in the line and didn’t have a great sense for my pace. Then we schooled the rolltop, because that was the 4th fence in our course and I’d never jumped one before. I was quite nervous, but surprisingly Miles was fine. I felt him back off just a touch at the base, but I kept my leg on well enough that he popped right over. It was the best fence of the night for us!

After successfully schooling the rolltop, we went back and started the course over, so that we could string all eight fences together. The first three went fine for us, then I found a long(er) distance to the 4th fence (a single white gate) and Miles pulled his duck and buck routine on the landing. I was literally one step from falling off — if he hadn’t stopped his shenanigans when he did, I would have hit the dirt. Trainer said it was because I didn’t ride across the fence, or ride the landing well… which is true. But part of me still feels like Miles shouldn’t react that way regardless. So, I have all the feels over this little incident, and I’m not quite sure how to sort them all out. I’m hoping the extra lesson I scheduled for later this week will help.

So, after our near disaster, we kept the fences low (2′) and worked through the course again, and proceeded to do a second course as well. Everything thereafter just felt… lackluster. I was a little nervous, but overall I just didn’t ride my best. I’m definitely disappointed in myself, and frustrated with my horse. But I’m trying really, really hard to let it go and not let the fact that I didn’t fall off ruin my confidence. Horses, man.


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

28 thoughts on “The Blahs

  1. I find that incidents like that where I don’t fall off actually shake my confidence more than when I do fall off! I’m not sure what it is, but the further I get from a fall, the less bold I am. It’s strange, but I totally get what you mean about feeling bad even though you stayed on.

    Which, by the way was super impressive, you’re so sticky! In a not gross way. My last fall, which was like five years ago (and not because I’m sticky, but because most of those years were not jumping and on a really solid horse) was exactly like that- the horse came off the fence and bronced and I came right off. There was no saving me! So props to you, it doesn’t feel great when it happens but major props to you for sticking that!

    1. I agree too, I think because when I do actually fall off I am usually a little pissed off and determined to fix it… but when you don’t actually fall off you are just left with the fear.

  2. That boy has a strong buck, you should be proud that you quickly found your seat and pulled him up! I think you should try to see the positive in how well you handled what he threw at you vs. the result of a similar situation months ago. I certainly agree that you didn’t do anything horrible to give him reason to react that way. Progress is progress and it’s certainly not linear. Next time no lessons after several days off for you Miles!

  3. Bridget has caught me out with that move a couple of times too. Agree with the above, look at the positives… you rode it super well, you corrected him, AND you know he was feeling a little different due to the time off, not some mystery lameness or something scarier health wise. I know a random internet commenter’s opinions don’t help when your brain switches to anxiety mode, but I really do totally think you’ve got this and are doing great 🙂

  4. I’m with you, he shouldn’t have pulled that shit after the fence. Your fence before it was way too close of a distance, but you want to take those because he’s well behaved after (I would make the same choice). I mean, sure you could have ridden better over the fence because none of us are Beezie… but I don’t see anything you did there that should have offended him.

  5. That was pretty naughty and I can totally understand your feelings. It’s really hard to dissect the bad moments out and focus on the good. You guys will triumph I don’t doubt it.

  6. ^ knows nothing about jumping but still thinks that was some dirty rodeo crap. Com’on Miles, get it together!! The others are right, it was pretty sweet that you stayed in the saddle. I bet you’ll have a great next lesson- whatever consolation that provides 🙂

  7. Wow that was a pretty decent duck and buck! I’m impressed. You didn’t look in danger of coming off. In fact, I thought you rode it quite well. It looked like he started with little shenanigans and started to build from there. I’m pretty sure I would have come off.

  8. Devil’s advocate…
    Yes, Miles shouldn’t be naughty after a fence that more or less was just fine. BUT do remember that he had FOUR days off prior. Jamp lately can’t even handle one day off without needing a lunge before our ride (completely ridiculous). And even after he’s a spookasaurus. He’s not much of a bucker, but boy can he bolt!
    On the other hand, I totally get where you’re coming from, because I am queen chicken. Or rather Queen Chicken, because clearly, it should be in caps. It’s hard to not have our feathers ruffled by things like this. Try to think about how you stayed on top, corrected him, and managed to keep going. You didn’t quit after that! Maybe you didn’t give it your all afterwards, but you kept on trying. And that’s all we can do. Try.

  9. Ooh, cheeky Miles! What a punk. Hopefully once you both get back into the groove of things your confidence will shoot right back up again.

  10. I always try to remember that not falling off is a victory… Yeah it’s sucky when they do anything that even makes falling off a likelihood but it’s always a win in my book when I get off on my own. Hopefully your confidence isn’t too shaken.

    One thing the naughty moments help with is sticking out the next ones!

  11. He was definitely naughty but you sat it so well! I think maybe he was just a bit jump-happy since he had a few days off. Some horses, unfortunately, can’t handle time off well! I hope you two can sort it out 🙂

  12. That was a good save by you, you got his head up and stayed on. Kudos.
    He didn’t need to do that. Just like Cosmo doesn’t need to cut the same. damn. corner. EVERY time we go through it. No matter how many times we school it or circle in it, EVERY time we go through he still tries to pull off the rail. Cut me some slack, bro. So frustrating.

  13. Good for you for sitting tall and giving him a yank out of that buck. Naughty pony.

    That said, he jumped that rolltop super cute.

  14. Nice stick!!! I, um, well I would have been PISSED at that. Riders make mistakes. Horses make mistakes. Errybody makes mistakes. No need to be a toolbag about it buddy boy. My answer to that kinda behavior is to immediately dig in and make that horse GALLOP. Can’t buck if he is going forward!! Your mileage may vary tho, obvi haha. All the same, well sat!!

  15. While Izzy is getting better and better each day, he still has goofball moments. For no apparent reason (other than being able to), Izzy did one of those same bucking routines the other day. I just sat up and yanked hard to get his head back around. I growled at him a moment and then asked him to carry on. Don’t take it personally or feel as though Miles was being malicious. He’s just a horse who voiced his opinion. He’s over it and doesn’t even remember that it happened. Why do they do the things they do? Because they can. Keep on keeping on! :0)

  16. What a brat! I’m kind of surprised you say that you almost fell off… you look so solid pulling his head up. I can totally understand the feels but try not to over think it. They all have their moments sometimes.

  17. What a stinker! I saw nothing you did to cause this. Focus on the fact that you stayed on and give yourself a big pat on the back! I had a horse that I bought because he did this and no one would ride him. He was a bit nastier. I would have to brace an arm on his neck at landing and rip his head up. It sucked and eventually got bored after he couldn’t get me off and stopped doing it. Riding should be fun. If this isn’t fun go ride a pony who is. Most importantly celebrate your successes. You were the winner on this day, not him!

  18. Horses, man. For sure. Yet we can’t get enough of them!!
    My horse has become a bit of a stopper and I know it’s a lot due to my nervous riding habits. Hopefully we can get our shit together soon, and I’m sure you guys will too!!

  19. I agree that distance wasn’t bad. When you’re a little long, does he usually swap like that? If he does makes me wonder if it’s a pain issue somewhere and that’s why he broncs a bit on the landing side. Probably not hocks since he clearly likes the deep one but maybe front feet. A horse my friend used to ride did the same thing. If you were long he would buck on the landing side. Turned out to be a front foot issue-the bucking was due to the extra stress on the foot landing harder from a launcher. Anyway-I know you didn’t ask for advice ;-). Good job staying on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *