Tuesday 11 December 2018

Jumping Clinic Recap

This weekend was my first jumping clinic .... ever? (Back when I used to jump as a kid I took weekly lessons but I don't think I ever actually did a jumping clinic)

They did a really cute Christmas theme with mini trees in the arena
and ribbon wrapped around the jump standards

My current weekly jumping coach was organizing this clinic at my barn and encouraged me to join. I was resistant at first because I'm not really a jumper, but I ended up signing up for one day for the following reasons:
- it was affordable and easy to attend since it was at my barn
- I ride at a hunter/jumper barn now and have several friends who were participating in the clinic, I figured it would be fun and comraderie-building to join in for once even if it's not really my thing
- Two months of slowly working on jumping once a week was enough for me to think that I probably wouldn't die or overface my horse
- I knew the clinician and knew she liked to also focus on flat work and equitation (which I am always up for)
- Karen's challenge to try something that you think is above your level
- I figured the atmosphere of a jumping clinic (lots of people and horses, group lessons where you alternate working and standing around) would be beneficial for Kachina

Well guess what, we did it and we didn't die!

Sorry, most of my media is blurry screenshots from a fb video
This trot between jumps has some nice uphill impulsion! (though not round)

I was paired with 3 riders that are barn friends and fellow boarders. I thought they were way above my level and was a bit worried about bringing the group down. I know they can and do jump higher than I have with Kachina but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the exercises in the clinic (which were admittedly low in height) Kachina and I had no issue keeping up. Though I was a bit tentative, nothing had to be lowered or simplified for us and we actually made it through some of the rounds more smoothly than other horse and rider combinations.

Boing over trot poles

The clinic definitely pushed our limits and showed me that we were capable of more than I thought. We started with some flat work and trot poles and gradually worked up to the below exercise. Light blue is trot and royal blue is canter. The red cross rails were set as a one stride distance and the black verticals were a bounce.

Final jump exercise

I had a lot of firsts with Kachina:
- first one stride combination
- first bounce
- first time cantering the approach to a fence
- first time changing directions over a fence
- first time doing a 'course' with more than 3 jumps
- first time having that many trot poles before a fence
- first time cantering poles (the black bounce started as poles on ground)

And you know what? She actually did all of those firsts extremely well! I had to work on my half-halting early on so she wouldn't rush the poles but once we started the actual jumping we only did a couple repetitions on each exercise as there wasn't much that had to change. Sure we could have been better, but there were no badly missed distances, no run outs or refusals, no loss of steering, no serious faults of any kind. For a horse so green to jumping Kachina was an absolute superstar and we didn't want to drill anything too hard.

Decently balanced canter on first canter approach


I'm also proud of myself. I spoke up to let the clinician know when something was new to us but I still gave everything a try and didn't let fear get to me. While I had tried to borrow a jump saddle for the clinic, Kachina didn't like it so I ended up having to ride in my regular dressage saddle. The blocks on my dressage saddle prevented me from raising my stirrups and that impacted my jumping position but I stayed generally steady and kept clear of Kachina's back and mouth over the jumps. I also had a proud moment during the flat work part of the lesson when the clinician told another rider to watch me because "she has nice hands". I've really been working on my hands this year so that was super nice to hear. I was even wearing my white gloves so that any bobbles could be clearly seen against Kachina's black neck.

The clinician had some feedback for me based on some of our runs: sink into my heels, half halt in the turn before the fence but release more over the jumps themselves, keep hands up (I have a tendency to pull my hands down instead of back when Kachina starts rushing), and sit up sooner after the fence. None of that was news to me but all good reminders of things to work on. I don't feel like I really learned anything new at the clinic (so I'm glad it was cheap and I only did one day), but I'm also glad I went. It was a fun day and a good challenge for me. It also further proved to me and everyone there how awesome Kachina is =)

Sequence showing our first time adding the yellow fence, I like our trot approach in
and my initial position but not sure why I fling myself forward in the last frame

Have you ever had a confidence boosting clinic?


  1. Well done. That looks like a lot of fun.

  2. Awesome job just going out and doing it.

  3. Hey, you went out and did the thing! That's awesome!! And even though you might not have heard a lot of new feedback, the firsts you accomplished with Kachina is so worth it, both for her experience and your confidence!