Saturday of our working vacation was amazing. I went out with the intentions of trying to jack the fences up and really put Bella to the test. I’ve always been hesitant to expect her to have the scope or ability to get over anything higher than 3’6″ but since it had been so long since the last time I even jumped something like that I wanted to just test her ability on that sort of height too. After doing the warm-up fences the two days before (sorry mare, I know this goes against our usual routine) I was feeling really confident with her listening and moving forward.
We did a pretty long warm-up and then jumped around the 2′ – 2’6 jumps for a bit just to see how she was feeling. Bella was quick but she was sitting back, she was listening, she was coming back to me after fences and most importantly I was riding well enough to consider taking on the height advancements.
So I set it all up. I raised only three fences. One to 3′, one to 3’3″ and then the final fence up to 3’6″. We ran through a full course the first go around, jumping the smaller things and then circling around to the 3′. Bella was great, and then she sort of got a little worried going into the 3’3″ and fought me on it. This resulted in a rail down but I had a long approach back to the 3’6″ so I went for it anyways just focusing on getting her back and getting her attention onto me again.
Bella does NOT like to take down rails and so when we came up around to the 3’6″ she was determined not to mess up again. Sure enough baby girl cleared it.
Once I knew she could do the 3’6″ I hopped off, re-set the 3’3″ and asked one of the students that was hanging out by the ring from the training barn if she would mind getting a video of us. Thankfully she was awesome about it and so I have actual pictures of this trip around (and a video of the 3’6″ which I cannot stop watching).
In order. 3′, 3’3″, and 3’6″.
Coming up to the 3′ and then going away from the 3’6″.
I always had this feeling that Bella had a lot of talent but I honestly was not prepared for this. To critique myself, I need to focus a little more on my self and my hands coming up to these bigger jumps. I was really trying to ride efficiently but I need to trust her more that she’s capable of this, because she is! I also Was focusing really hard on landing on the correct lead and as you can see over the 3’3″ this resulted in my upper body ducked slightly to the inside. I’ve really been working hard on keeping my upper body centered and so I’m glad to see that over 2 of the 3 jumps pictured I kept right on it, even if I was looking again in the third picture. It’s taken a lot of work but again, flat work pulls through for the win!
Here’s the video of our 3’6″ jump! Baby girl got hops!
Coming up is part 3 which is also going to be our Saturday evening (after this schooling day) and our trip home!