Schooling the Ponies

Sunday Sessions

Every Sunday I lug my poor fiancé to help me do something more adventurous with the horses as he seems to be a great assistant! Today I had my jumping socks on and was so keen to try my new boots too!

I set up an exercise which involved 4 uprights each 1 stride apart with a pole in the middle. As always with horses, you plan to do one thing and end up doing another! Milo was really unhappy in his head today, he struggles with uprights too so in a quick succession was difficult for him. He headshakes in the summer, something which is allergy related and it easily rectified with a nose net, although he started today- he must have gotten confused with the seasons as it has rained all week! Anyway, he was struggling and getting frustrated and upset with himself (he takes jumping very seriously) so we worked on getting some energy out and just letting him enjoy himself. We put up an oxer and let him enjoy himself, then finished with a bigger upright to get him sitting back on his hocks again. Sometimes, it’s just not worth stressing. He gets so upset anyway and so sometimes just having fun is the most important thing, we can leave the serious stuff to our lessons.

Guinness did do what I planned (more or less) but did only 3 jumps instead. And he did not disappoint at all. He jumped unreal, exceeding himself and having a good buck in the process. I am really enjoying riding him right now and it is helping my confidence so much as sometimes Milo can be difficult. He makes me feel 14 and carefree again, which is what it is all about. I can always rely on him to put a smile on my face and impress me every time. I wonder if he will ever slow down- aged 17 and he feels the best he ever has. The horse is just amazing.

It is such an important lesson to be able to accept when it isn’t going right and just simplify and move on. It is frustrating when it just isn’t their day but that’s horses and it makes it so much more worthwhile when it does go right!


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The exercise I originally wanted to do worked would have worked on proprioception through the poles on the floor as well as developing athleticism through the quick succession of fences. It also is beneficial at developing rider fitness and quality of the canter. I am going to continue working on Milo’s suppleness and balance on the flat and then attempt this again soon!



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