I know it was unreasonable, and unrealistic, but I had visions of selling McKenna, buying a new pony, and being able to go back to the 2'6"+ fences like a snap. Other than I think one jump session with Tia, and the couple little gymnastics we did with McKenna I really hadn't jumped anything bigger than 2' in over a year and a half, since I sold Buddy. But riding a horse is like riding a bike, right? I've jumped bigger jumps in the past so I should be able to now.
I don't trust my eye and, how ever unfairly, I don't trust Peebs. McKenna was such a powder keg that letting go and trusting Peebs to not kill me isn't something I'm ready to do. I want to hold and nitpick every stride with him. And I know he doesn't need it. That he gets angry with too much micromanagement. That he's not strong enough or balanced enough yet to collect and wait forever for the distance.
|He's the cutest|
So for the past couple weeks, when the weather's cooperated (which wasn't often) we jumped outside and when it's windy/rainy/flat nasty out and I have the indoor to myself we've jumped inside. The focus for most of our jump schools is just going forward, me staying relaxed and not picking at him, and cantering a bunch of tiny jumps so I can feel comfortable again. He's a good boy and I know this, but it takes time for the trust to build.
Unfortunately we had a somewhat disastrous lesson on Monday. It was our first lesson in a month and it was pouring down rain so we were inside. Trainer set the diamond of death exercise; a cross rail on the center line with four poles in a diamond around it. We were to trot across the diagonals, from center of one pole to center of the cross rail, to center of the second pole. Both trainer and I thought we'd end up working more on keeping Peebs straight, but it turned into a fight to keep him trotting.
|Making friends with his new turnout buddy Charlie|
He wanted to leap at the first pole and was very confused and upset by trotting everything. And his way of expressing said confusion and anger is by grabbing the bit and going sideways for a stride or two where I have absolutely zero control. Just that stride of knowing you have no say in what your horse does is terrifying. I'm not proud of it, but I got after him a little too harshly out of fear. It had scared the crap out of me. But he never once tried to truly bolt or take off, buck, rear, or crow hop all of which McKenna would have done. Trainer had to talk me off the ledge a bit, and said that this was a hard exercise and probably a little too much too soon for the both of us. But now we know what his (and my) limits are and what we need to work on.