I’ve been doing a lot more focusing on Bob recently, with a lesson booked last week, ahead of our first show. A couple of days before the lesson, I decided it was time to step up from canter poles and trial a couple of jumps. He did so well and didn’t once have an issue.

Horse Jumping

A couple of days later it was our lesson, and the weather as usual wasn’t on our side – on/off rain whilst doing yard jobs. Then, as we brought the horses down, it became torrential. It was still soggy when my instructor arrived, but we decided to continue, and I was so happy we did. We did some flat work, building to some raised poles, and then, finally, fences; Bob took a dislike to one fence and the dog leg after it, but after a few attempts got over them. A short pep talk and we were ready for the show at the weekend.

Bob was scrubbed up on Saturday and I hogged his mane again, as he was doing in-hand veteran, as well as the jumping. Much to my shock, he stayed clean overnight! Considering he hadn’t been out in 14 months, only a five-minute session to get him to load was great and off we went.

Horses in field

The showing was running behind and we didn’t actually get into the class until after 2pm. Bob was still quite hyper by this point, but put on a lovely show and scooped second place. We then took him back to the box to change over the bridle for the showjumping, but what an ordeal occurred! Just as I was slipping his first bridle off and doing up the head collar, he pulled back with all his might and galloped off down the field and out the open gate. Marathon sprinting after him, we managed to block the lane and push him in the direction of a horse field. After a few failed attempts to get the headcollar on, I managed it. Boy, was that a hugely scary experience!

I thought I had coped OK, but by the time we were back at the lorry and I was tacking him up for the jumping I had a huge panic attack, where I was struggling to breathe. My partner wanted us to just go home, but I, being stubborn, declined and continued to tack up.

Horse training

We got to the arena with three people to go before our turn. I managed to learn the course very quickly then got aboard a very hyper Bob. I won’t lie – I was quite anxious, as it was our first time doing a course in 14 months and at a new location, but once we entered the arena it all left me. We didn’t have the best round, napping at fence one and two, but we cleared them. We knocked a few fences down too, but he jumped lovely and forward from fence three onwards and felt amazing.

Horse jumping

Again, after this my partner tried to encourage me to go home, but I was adamant we needed to do another round for both our confidences. I did gulp, though, as I entered the arena and saw how much the fences had gone up by! I was glad of the relaxed environment, as Bob had a full-blown tantrum, including a very high rear (didn’t feel high, but pics show it was) for two minutes, not going near fence one. I asked to jump just one or two fences, and they said not to worry and start from fence two, so I took him to it and we were happily off again. Only two fences down this time, at the higher height, and he jumped lovely.

Despite not being a great result on paper, I was so pleased we had done it and I had stayed aboard, especially after the huge panic attack. The riding club really helped with encouragement and a huge round of applause, alongside lovely comments as we left the arena. No frillies in the jumping, but I felt like we had accomplished so much. As they say, onwards and upwards. I’m now pursuing our next jumping outing.

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I’ve been doing a lot more focusing on Bob recently, with a lesson booked last week, ahead of our first show. A couple of days before the lesson, I decided it was time to step up from canter poles and trial a couple of jumps. He did so well and didn’t once have an issue.

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