Sunday, September 14, 2014


This July I started taking Jumping lessons.  When I was younger jumping wasn't something that interested me.  I far preferred to do pattern work and dressage type stuff.  In short, I'm a jumping novice.  I've taken a handful of jumping lessons over the years.  My instructor at the stable I'm riding at gave me a very nice compliment.  She said the trainer (a very accomplished jumper) thought I was good and wanted to know where I came from.  Jen told her I'd been everywhere.

I've got to admit, when Jen told me this I rolled my eyes and snorted out a "Ya right."  You see, I'm horrifically out of shape.  I can feel my body flop when it should be solid.  Jen insisted.  She said that they could see through my out of shape flops and see the seat I possessed.  She went on to explain that I'm unique in the fact that I have a well rounded background.  It made me think.

When I was young I learned how to ride bareback.  Farmer style.  My mom didn't believe in saddles.  I didn't ride in a saddle until I was 4-H age.  4-H was my first introduction to riding "proper".  It was somewhat surprising to learn one didn't just kick and pull.  I began taking lessons.  For the most part I rode Arabians and competed in the local shows.  I rode in an English saddle and progressed on to some Arabian "A" shows.  I want to be clear.  My family did not have a lot of money and most of my horses were not the reliable school master type.  I literally learned how to ride in the school of hard knocks.  Sometimes I'm astonished that I stuck with it.

As an adult I decided that showing was horribly boring so I began to branch out.  I bought a school master rope horse and learned how to rope.  For the next ten years I immersed myself in the cowboy and rodeo world.  I moved out into ranch and oil country, well away from the commuter acreage area I grew up in.  There I hooked up with (not in the hook up sense - haha), an old cowboy who ran a small ranch complete with a stable.  He was an alcoholic and full of character.  Back in the day he showed and trained reining horses.  Here I learned how to train a rope horse and began schooling in basic reining maneuvers.  This barn became my home away from home.  I shovelled shit and had my pick of horses to ride.  I began "finishing" ranch horses he owned to pay for my board.  I was in horsey heaven.  I also had some pretty huge wrecks complete with hospital visits during this time of my life.  The final hospital visit would prove to be a blow my confidence would never recover from (3rd degree concussion).   I had learned how to start and finish a horse the cowboy way.  My roping was progressing complete with competitions.  We had even tossed around the idea of me riding a horse in the reining class at the Canadian Supreme.  (There was a glorious Palamino stallion called Yeller that was good enough to go.)

At one point the cowboy lifestyle got to me.  I had had enough and I moved home.  Back to civilization.  From this point on I rode purely for pleasure.  I would do various things like take the odd jumping lesson or spend a summer turning back for cutters.  And I still love going out to Ken's and spending the day doing ranch work off a horse.  Pure joy.

Fast forward to now.  Now I'm slightly bored but still highly pressed for time.  I have a horse to play with - Marm - thank you Jesus.  After Marm arrived I had some serious swings in what I wanted to do with my horsey self.  I could not make up my mind.  I want to cut.  No I want to jump.  No I want to show Arabians.  No I want to... you get the idea.  The problem is reality can be a bugger.  What can I realistically do?  What can Marm realistically do?

The outcome?  With the trainers compliment ringing in my ears, (I really do have an eclectic background.), I think I'm going to focus on riding Marm English.  Rationale?  Marm likes being rode with contact.  Loves it. I have access to high caliber trainers and lesson programs close to my house and dad's farm.  And jumping challenges me.  It's hard for me.  It stretches my abilities.

And FYI: Marm needs a new name.  She's not really a Marm and I have a hard time getting it out.  So even though I hate the idea of renaming a horse, a renaming shall occur.  Once I figure out what name actually works for her.

1 comment:

Liz Stout said...

THIS IS SO EXCITING! I can't wait to hear about all of your pursuits with her. ...and her new name! Perhaps you could look into ideas of names with "contact" or "collection" as a meaning?

Diversity and change within our horse pursuits is so important I've realized recently. Trying to condition TWO horses for endurance has been so trying on me. Re-focusing Griffin's work to be more flat work (he's SO naturally uphill) with hopes of jumping some day AND cart work (big spoiler on future blog posts lol - I've been training cart work with him for weeks now) has been such a great mental escape for me AND the horse, I think. So nice to have a change of pace between critters.