I went to my first jumping lesson last Wednesday night. No pics, sorry. I went by myself.
I was so nervous before it started! Really nervous! Sweaty palms, heat racing, type nervous.
They brought up 2 horses, and a pony. Guess who got the pony? 😂
Actually, it was a super cute pony who was about the size of Joy.
There were three other ladies close to my age in the class. All at about my level of riding (bit more experienced in jumping). I was worried about riding in front of them at first, and making a fool out of myself, but they were so incredibly nice.
I haven’t 2 pointed in 30 odd years. I couldn’t seem to get the mechanics of it down. It seems so simple, and yet I was either tipping forward or falling back. I couldn’t stop posting in 2 point. What’s up with that?!?
Instructor had us go over a line of poles on the ground first. The lesson pony, Willow, handled them with ease. I just clung on and focused on my body position while Willow did all the work.
When the instructor was satisfied with our pole work she let us jump a single cross rail.
I had mixed emotions about going over the first jump. Excited, with an undercurrent of feeling nauseous. Part of me wanted to quit, but the other ladies there weren’t scared. They weren’t even phased. It made me feel like I could do it too.
The first lady rode over the cross rail easily and then it was my turn. Those jumps seem so big when I’m on the back of a horse. They also seem to get massively larger the closer I get to it. What was a 6 inch jump, started looking like a 4 foot oxer in my mind by the time we got to it.
I closed my eyes.
Willow jumped over it easily and with a nice fluid effort. Easy to ride it. I got scolded for ducking my upper body down (oops), and i made a mental note to fix it next jump.
Second jump was easier. Jump seemed a lot smaller this time. I kept my upper body as still as possible. I had issues holding 2 point though and wobbled backward a bit. I wasn’t quite in balance.
Then the instructor changed things up and had us jump the first cross rail the opposite way, and continue down the line to the 2nd cross rail.
I tried to watch the other ladies as they did their jumps. They made it seem easy.
Then my turn… The first cross rail went well, but as soon as the pony landed she started cantering. I’ve never cantered over a jump before and the second jump was coming up very fast! I was freaking out. I was mid-debate with myself about pulling the pony back to a trot or not when suddenly we were at the next cross rail. It seemed so massive. At least a 6 foot wall. I grabbed mane. Pony soared over it and landed gracefully on the other side. My heart was thudding in my chest. I almost wanted to quit at that point. And yet.. OMG it was fun. Scary, but fun!
Instructor had us come around and try it again. This time it didn’t seem quite as big of a jump, nor as terrifying when the pony cantered up to it. Not quite the smoothest approach to the fence, but I felt like we stayed in sync a bit better the second time.
We did that line a couple more times and by the end I felt a lot braver about jumping.
I’m still not really confident in my 2 point position. And I had issues with keeping my upper body up when I closed the angle of my hips. I think it’s lack of strong back muscles. I was really feeling every back muscle after I got off the pony. Those were the only muscles that felt sore afterward.
I go back for my second lesson on the 11th. I’m really excited about it. Really fun group of ladies and I get to challenge my fears and learn new things. I can’t wait!
Oh, I was really pleased that the instructor praised me for staying balanced when the pony jumped the second line of cross rails. She said the strides were off, or something, and so pony had to jump from a bad spot. Instructor said I did a good job of staying out of the way and not messing up the pony’s balance. I was thinking.. “My motto in life: stay out of the way and keep the peace” 😂
All in all, a fantastic group of ladies to ride with, a safe and well trained pony to learn on, and a knowledgeable instructor who pushed me just outside my comfort zone but not beyond. It waa an exhilarating experience. Scary, but exhilarating.