The Fetal Flail.

My trail buddy has been giving me jump lessons on Ox over the past couple of weeks.  We used to do it on Sundays after we went on a trail ride, but then our trail rides got bigger and we ran out of time.  We've met twice before the trail ride to do a quick jump school, which I find is just as effective as a longer one.

She's a retired h/j trainer.  We don't see eye-to-eye on the same things, exactly, like chipping versus the long spot (chipping makes me want to barf), but her knowledge and confidence and eye on the ground has been invaluable in my path to becoming a jumper* again.

*not like, literal jumper.

These mini lessons tend to start out the same way, which, though it sucks because it's work, is fucking awesome:
↣ getting the big orange booty moving that big orange booty forward, without his shoulders popping
↣ going from a working trot to a collected, sit-trot and back to a working trot.  I'm okay at this, but recent visits to the tattoo parlor have made this exercise particularly ouchie.
↣ some dressage, like leg yielding and shoulder-in.  we work on this by ourselves when it's too dark to jump, too.
↣ and canter stride work, which has lately been adjusting between 4 and 6 strides in a five-stride trot pole set up, and counting out five strides before the fence, because it gives me something else to focus on other than my imminent death.

I gotta say, busting my leg did absolutely nothing for my confidence.  I will jump everything she sets up, but I am seriously so much more comfortable trotting into a line and cantering out or trotting up to singles.  This is ironic because the line that I crashed on was a trot in-canter out line, but the brain makes no sense.

Here's a 43 second video in which she tells me to keep my eyes up seven times.

Over fences, we've been working on courses and getting my body and eye better.  I love to curl up on myself with my knees squeezing for dear life when something is scary.  This is not a safe position.  Brain makes no sense.  So we work on getting my tatas out, lengthening my leg and getting my heels down, and sitting up and back to the base of the fence.  I forgot for a while that I had hands and should release, but my heels were certainly pretty.  We're getting there.

Latest course started with the most horrifying fences.  Did not die.

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  1. Ox is such a good boy! Also, you look way better in the video than this post led me to believe.

  2. Getting comfortable sitting way up on approach to fences did so much to renew my confidence while jumping. Like, okay this might not be the prettiest spot, but I'm not leaning forward and increasing my chances of bashing my brain in again so EVERYTHING IS FINE.

  3. I feel the fetal flail! Also I do the "superman perch" in which I anticipate the jump and actually soar up before my horse does. Since you shared video of yours, here is video of mine: (yes, sneakers. I am a bad person. At least there's a helmet...)

  4. Sometimes our brains don't make much sense, but I say that trotting being your crutch for jumping something scary, there is nothing wrong with that. Ramone would almost 100% jump something scary from the trot, and I'd take that over a stop or giving up on it any day.

  5. What kind of new tattoos might these be?!

    I think it's pretty cool to have a friend who will help you like that.

  6. I mean. I basically need to be told constantly to keep my eyes up too lol. Seriously tho, you guys look great!!

  7. If it makes you feel any better I've been taking regular jumping lessons for the last 5 years and my trainer STILL tells me to keep my eye up on a very regular basis.

  8. LTFB is a real thing (lean the F back) and so is eyes up. We all do it I think.

    I hate chipping buttttt it is generally safer. Taking the gap as the jumps get bigger or solid is no bueno. You'll get your mojo back!

  9. I read this title as 'fatal' flail and was extremely concerned for a minute there.

  10. I totally get the fetal issue. Have done that myself for years. It's only just recently that I've started to get out of that, and it's mostly because I've finally decided that pony canter is supposed to feel fast and it's ok. Keep at it and I'm sure you'll figure it out!

  11. Not failing at all! You're getting back out there after a nasty injury- you got ganas, girl!