Leave the Seesaw on the Playground

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I recently was lucky enough to make my way down to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL and watch the jumper derby that was being held two weeks ago.

Now, I’m not calling myself an expert but there are a few things that just make sense:

  1. A horse cannot be looking at the ground if it is expected to jump a 5′ fence
  2. In Man vs. Horse tug-of-war, the horse wins…every time

While many riders had wonderful rounds it amazed me that at this level of competition, these mistakes were being made. There have only been two times in my life where I have wished that the horse would throw its rider and get the heck out of there.

First, was when a “trainer” (no clue who) couldn’t handle a horse she was showing and decided to jump a 3′ course in draw-reins. Second, was at this jumper derby when the rider literally pulled the horse’s teeth out and then spurred it over the fences. The first time, the trainer did get thrown and the horse did get the heck out of the ring before politely waiting by the schooling area for someone to catch him. This jumper was forgiving (I guess) and instead of throwing his rider, he simply refused to jump.

I find it so helpful to watch people ride at upper-levels because every mistake made is amplified and by watching others, you can better analyze and improve your own riding. How does that quote go?

If you do not learn from history, you’re bound to repeat it.

Well, learn from the riding mistakes of others so you don’t find yourself approaching a 4’9″ fence and feel your horse slide to a halt because your constant seesawing on his/her face is not helping anyone. I know I’ve kept that thought in the back of my mind for every course I’ve ridden & the times a compromise with my mare are the times we go double clear.