Lessons with Coco ~ Figure-of-8 Jumping Exercise

Having arrived home from my two week holiday in Texas, it was time to get Coco back into work. She had put on a bit of a grass belly while I was away but nothing too bad thankfully. I got on to Sue and we scheduled a lesson for 9.30am on a Sunday. It has been a very long time since I’ve had a lesson so early but it was actually delightful. The yard was so quiet and peaceful and it was nice to know I had the whole day for other things (sitting around watching movies with the boyfriend).

Anyway..on to the lesson! The arena we rode in only had one set of wings and some poles so Sue had to come up with a fun jumping exercise using just these and she didn’t disappoint. Keeping things very simple, Sue set one fence up in the middle of the arena and out of this we made a figure-of-8 jumping exercise. To start I gave Coco a quick warm up with a walk, trot and canter on each rein and then we moved onto jumping.

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I warmed Coco up over the fence, jumping it as normal. She had a few moments of side-hopping on her approach on the right rein but after jumping it a few times she really started to settle and jump nicely. Sue gradually raised the fence to a nice height while I tried to keep two things in mind don’t let Coco get too deep to the fence (or I’ll get myself killed some day) and ride straight after the fence (I kind of kept forgetting this part). 

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As the lesson got on, Coco started to become more tense jumping off the right rein. I have my suspicions this is partly due to saddle issues (an old saddle which I stopped riding in weeks ago) which subsequently caused some back pain so I have arrangedJumping_7 for a physio to come out to check her out. When she started her bunny-hopping I first tried keeping her on a circle to stop her from running out through her shoulder. With no change after the second and third attempts Sue decided to try something else. She told me to stop her as soon as she started bunny-hopping, point her towards the fence and push her on into the jump. When I did this Coco jumped without hesitation. 5 strides from the fence, walk to canter, and  she met the jump perfectly every time. While I think discomfort is one reason why she starts this, I also think its partly Coco over-thinking the fence. I’ll be able to confirm after her session with the physio.
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Next we tried the real figure-of-8 exercise. Sue dropped the fence back down to a smaller height and I took on the jump at an angle. I started by trotting her into it and she jumped it nicely. I came in from the other side in canter and she wasn’t too sure what I was asking her to do so she ran out. I brought her back to trot and made another attempt and she jumped it no problem. After that we were able to continuously jump off the angle creating our figure-of-8. 

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We finished up the lesson by jumping the fence as normal a few more times and she was loving it. I found I had started to lose confidence when jumping Coco after she started her bunny-hopping and avoiding the jump. We had a few tough lessons where I really had to work to get her over the jumps but after this lesson I felt so confident in her and her abilities. She really loves her jumping and I think we’re ready to start going out and getting some experience in some schooling shows under our belts. 

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At the end of the lesson Sue asked me what my plans for Coco were for 2018. I hadn’t really thought much farther than just surviving so when she said SJI (Showjumping Ireland), start getting some points on her” I got a rush of nervous excitement thinking this was something that we could actually do. I’ve never jumped SJI before and it was never something that was really on my radar but then again I have never owned a horse that could give me this kind of opportunity so I’ve decided that’s my goal for 2018. Get Coco jumping in SJI leagues. Hopefully you’ll stick around to see how we get on! Exciting times ahead!

Orla

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2 thoughts on “Lessons with Coco ~ Figure-of-8 Jumping Exercise

    • nobuckingway says:

      Yes up until this point the goal was to produce a rideable horse and hope for the best! Now I can see us doing much more than that! Coco is so much fun – Darielle jumped her last week so keep an eye out for her blogpost about that. She definitely has a lot to say about her haha!

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