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Last jumping show of 2021

The 19th December was the last trip out jumping this year for Bear, to the Roscrea Equestrian Centre Christmas show.

Charlie came with me to video my rounds, but got a bit engrossed in Minecraft instead-so this was the only picture we have of the occasion 不不

I have been working so hard on Bear the last couple of months, finding a new approach and a different way of riding her. She has responded brilliantly, and she is so much better-no longer landing and charging on a line or in a combination. She is using her jump a lot more, and although she will never be a straightforward horse, she seems to be channelling her boundless energies in a better direction now.

The best part of it all is that I have gone from being unable to hold her in a combination bridle a few months ago, to now jumping her in a soft Poponcini snaffle. I have so much admiration and respect for Bear-she just always has my back, and she is always prepared to stick with it and keep trying.

Today Bear also jumped her first 1m. Big fucking deal, some might say. Well actually yes it was. The last 1m I jumped in public was about 8 years ago. After years of kicking breakers and young horses around smaller tracks, this height had somehow become insurmountable in my head. This year, I set out with the intention of jumping the height in the spring. The mare would have done it easily two years ago, but I just mentally couldnt.

I started going for lessons, and everything went wrong. I have no idea why, and I still dont fully understand-but wrong it went. Bear became mentally disengaged, and our precious line of communication and understanding was most definitely broken. I spent months just hacking her, and rereading my Rashid and Brannaman books in a desperate attempt to find our way again. It took a long time, but things got better. I looked long and hard at what wasnt working, and I have tried very hard to meet her where shes at-instead of where I or anyone else thinks she should be.

So today-

Bear loves this time of year and always seems to hit top form right when the shows are stopping for Christmas poxy Santa.. Learning to take her time and use her jump more has also had the occasional disadvantage of Bear realising that she CAN use her jump more. She loves jumping, loves the surfaces in Roscrea and loves December-as I have said-all of which led to her feeling VERY JOLLY INDEED this morning.

In the 90, she threw a whopper jump over the first fence. Followed by some sort of bronco rodeo. I tried to carry on to the second fence, but the line and the canter were shite so I circled and approached again. She jumped very well, rode very well and seemed to have A VERY GOOD TIME. It was a pain to pick up the 4f for circling, but it was better than firing her at a fence when I have spent months asking her to please stop jumping like a rabied fucking anthrax patient.

I jumped two fences before the 1m to check for any VTOL potential, but all seemed fine. She jumped the first fence in the 1m, and again, she erupted skywards. I was ready this time, and managed to steer to the second fence in a semi-civilised fashion. Everything went smoothly until fence 11-she just didnt put her eye on the fence and I couldnt for the life of me see a good distance. I circled and came back to it, and although she still was late to pick it up, the stride was better. The turn from 13 to 14 was a pretty sharp left hand 6 or 7 strides, and when she jumped 13 quite big, I circled back to 14 rather than yank her round. Obviously circling is not ideal, nor is it something I would ever normally do-ESPECIALLY not in the show ring-but this is only the second show Bear has done using this different method of riding her. It is going to take a little time to get it together, and for me to be more confident to ride more forward and know that she isnt going to revert to running through the bridle, no brakes bill style..

She was third in the 90 and third in the 1m, and despite the 4f and 8f rounds for circling, she didnt touch a twig all day.

Now all I have to do is keep her occupied until shows resume in February 不不

I totally recommend factoring shows at Roscrea EC into your calendar next year-the arenas have beautiful surfaces in them, and David builds proper tracks that teach both horse and rider. The atmosphere is always relaxed, and nothing is a problem. We are so lucky to have these venues, so we must support them.

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