Our plan had always been to get the flatwork right before revisiting jumping, but recently we felt that it couldn’t hurt to try something different with her that we know she loves. The vet also felt it was potentially very good for getting her to use her back and hind end more.
I had a play in the school lunging her over some poles last week which she loved, and then popped it up – I was really struck by how much her technique had improved since last time; no more baby clambering over a fence but really jumping and using her back more and looking far more coordinated. At the end when she was jumping confidently, I hopped on and she finished jumping a few with me in the saddle. She had no issue with this, and just wanted to go again!
I had a chat with Sharon and we agreed xc schooling would be a great thing for her to try. Initially we had expected to just be jumping the tiny jumps – 1’3”, 2” fences, but it soon became clear that this was not enough of a challenge for Rubes! It wasn’t long before she was jumping fences from the 2’6” course, and looked as though she’d been doing it all her life. We were all gobsmacked, she just took it in her stride and didn’t have any trouble with ditches, steps, jumping in and out of water, logs – you name it, she jumped it, and with style too. In fact the only issue we had was bringing her back afterwards as she was very keen on locking onto the next fence – a little hairy when the next fence is on the open course! NOOO Ruby, not yet! Although she did actually end up coming down the steps from the open course, as she seemed to find going up and down steps particularly easy, and in fact the log before the water jump which is part of the open course. What a pleasing introduction to xc!
She was nothing short of brilliant and I couldn’t have asked for more – just might need to review the bitting situation, as the French link snaffle was no match for Ruby when she had locked onto a fence, as my shoulders can testify! This horse has always been a typical Opposition horse in many ways, and it’s looking as though she has inherited some of that fearless jumping ability. I’ve never had such a buzz as taking her xc for the first time and feeling the potential in her. She was keen, took you to the fence, had her (rather substantial) ears pricked up the whole way, a super little technique and just knew her job. What more can you want?
She is actually due to go for scans this Friday to check whether there is a medical diagnosis for her 1-sidedness, so I’m hoping we will be in a better position to deal with the issue afterwards. The vet has warned that we may not find anything, but it gives me some peace of mind if nothing else, and I do feel that such a chronic complaint warrants investigation. Have to say thanks to KBIS for giving us the go ahead to do the scans, they have been great. If it shows nothing, great! Except that it then means it may be a ‘learnt behaviour’ and then we are really going to have find a way to get to the bottom of it, and how we can break the cycle.
I’m more determined than ever to persevere with her and see what we can do to get her flatwork sorted. I would be absolutely bursting with pride if she were able to go eventing – whether that is in 2013 or beyond. Of all the horses I’ve tried, none of them have given me the same ‘wow’ feeling as Ruby gave me yesterday. Fingers crossed Friday is a good outcome.