Confession Whine: I miss jumping my horse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we found dressage and it’s working well for us. But when we found Christy, back when I thought Pearl had “just an injury” that was going to get better, I really hoped that we were going to be poster children for “here is how dressage can improve your jumping.”
I always feel odd saying I started off as a hunter, because I basically jumped speed bumps once a week on random school horses. Not exactly a remarkable career. But I love the feeling of all four feet in the air (on purpose!), and nothing makes me drool like knees to the eyeballs over an oxer full of fill. Preferably dark bay with chrome, of course. Omg a dressage person who doesn’t take every opportunity to bash the hunters what madness is this?!
I’ve tried to piece together Pearl’s past, but I’ve been fairly unsuccessful. I know she was bred by a dressage breeder but made hunter babies. Owners of her offspring that I’ve
stalked gotten in touch with have said they were told the dam “did dressage.” So my sneaking suspicion is she was haphazardly taught to jump, and then magically became a “hunter school horse.” Her… unconventional style was a running joke with my college equestrian team. I freely admit to being barn blind, but I really feel like with better flatwork and gymnastics she could have been quite a nice jumper.
Our early efforts were… appalling at times. I used to post on internet forums and everyone was like “omg I am keyboard jockey you are going to have a rotational fall!!!1!!!”
There was one horrifying “clinic” where I played photog which basically turned into “let’s run Pearl at big fences and see if she clears them” day. The instructor was like “omgz she is so talented, you should sell her as a junior jumper on the West Coast” and I cried thinking she was going to leave.
But she actually got super cute with gridwork
If still a little… overjump-y
And sometimes we were able to jump actual courses with jumps you didn’t need a microscope to see
And she clearly was… enthusiastic about it
And I’ll always wonder if she would’ve been one of those ones who sharpened up her style as the fences got bigger, or if she always would be of the “heave my body and don’t fold my legs” variety. Right around the time when she got Really Lame, I was working at a fancy hunter barn and the trainer asked me if I wanted to move her there and work for board instead of cash. I would’ve missed my Christy crew, but I probably would’ve hopped on that opportunity, since there is no way I would ever be able to straight up afford a program like that. I just really regret that I was never (as in literally not one time) able to take a lesson on my own horse with a highly qualified, well-respected jumping instructor.
She freaking loved to jump, and I wonder if she misses it as much as I do
and I definitely am not a big enough nerd to have an “animal communicator” do a “reading” and she definitely didn’t “say” she wanted to jump more.
Sometimes she jumps imaginary jumps
She free jumped once and I was like will you have my babies plz
Sometimes (like literally a couple times a year) I am a bad Navicular Mom and let her hop over teeny weeny things because she LOVES it so much
And she throws a party for herself on landing, so I figure she can’t be hurting too bad
Like, could her ears possibly be any more forward? And her tail flagged? So it’s our little very occasional secret. I would never actually School Her Over Fences, but she does worse to herself out on her own that I don’t beat myself up about it as long as she can walk the next day.
So there you have it. I would chew off my own arm to make this horse sound enough to jump again. But as always, I am so incredibly grateful that she is sound enough for what she CAN do.