Recently one of my clients had problems with her pony stopping at jumps, so along with the usual suggestions of saddle and back checks, I said maybe she just needs a break from jumping for a few weeks. After all, they’d had a busy summer competition and generally upping their jumping game and workout. There may be done tired muscles with nothing but a couple of quieter weeks would sort out, or her brain needed chance to digest all she’d learnt. Or maybe just focusing on the flatwork would improve her jumping technique, which would overcome whatever block they were having.
The situation reminded me of a girl at the yard when I was growing up who jumped her pony every time she rode. Not necessarily very big, but constantly. One autumn, the mare threw in the towel. One of the suggestions that our instructor gave her was to give her a break from jumping. Because the girl was young, she couldn’t hack on her own and ya “big girls” were reluctant to have her tagging along. But she managed to get off the yard a few times and just did flatwork for a few weeks and then this mare was back to her usual jumping self.
It’s hard for kids to get their head around, but just like they don’t want to do a whole day of maths at school, their ponies need variety to their work, and as parents or instructors it’s important to teach this. After all, and interested pony is much more biddable than a stale pony, be it jumping stale or school stale.
My client and her pony seem to be back on form now, so the next time the pony shows signs of being jumping-tired, she knows that a week or two of hacking or dressaging will sort them out.
So. I rode Otis today for the first time in a month. It`s the longest he has ever been off work. Well, perhaps with the exception of his winter of being turned away as a three year old. Bringing him back into work then meant scraping the inches of mud from his hairy body and throwing the tack on before mounting on the yard and walking the almost four year old up the lane and back. At the time I was thrilled that he was foot perfect. Now of course, I know I should be more careful and lunge hand or mount in the school. Because I`m older, wiser, and God forbid, married!
Anyway, bright and early this morning, with no one else on the yard I took Otis into the school and mounted (see, I`m learning). It was as if I`d never gone on holiday. Of course, there wasn`t…
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