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Nemo’s First Jumper Show

Something that I’ve always loved about riding, is that you can never stop learning as a rider, and teaching your horse new things. I grew up riding hunter jumper, and then dressage in college, and found my horse Nemo just shy of 6 years ago. He’s a 16hh, playful, happy Morgan that just wants to please. Part of what I love about the Morgan breed is that they’re so versatile. Nemo has been on many horse show, trail ride, and hunter pace adventures with me, and he’s always up for a gallop on the track behind my barn. Over the years, I’ve also worked on teaching him how to jump, and early this summer, I had the exciting chance to take him to a jumper show.

As we were getting organized for the show, I made sure to practice jumping him over as many new obstacles as possible, putting a specific focus on adding flower boxes under the jumps. I was happy to find that, while he was initially leery of them, with some reassurance and practice, he became more confident and willing to jump them. When my friends and I finished packing the trailer and loading up the horses, I knew that it’d be a fun day.

When we got there, I was pleased to find that Nemo was fairly relaxed and taking everything in. He has a tendency to worry and be a bit stronger off property, and it was great to see him relaxing and soaking everything in. I memorized the course, and headed into my first class.

Many of my friends know that I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to riding. I love practicing courses, working on equitation, and finessing Nemo’s training. Something that can be challenging, is taking a step back and just enjoying the experience of a “training moment.” In our first course, Nemo bravely cantered up to the first fence, realized it was a brighter color than at home, and bobbled. I had to laugh, as I know many of us have been there as riders. I could have ended the course right there, or, I could take a step back, and make it an encouraging training moment for him. I smiled, gave him a pat of reassurance, and encouraged him forward. As we continued on, he had some brave moments (jumping over flower boxes without being nervous), and some funny moments (overjumping a few fences by just a bit too much!). As we left the ring, I gave him a big pat, as I knew he’d done his best, and had trusted me to guide him around the most complicated course he’d ever done. I headed back to my friends, we cheered Nemo on, laughed about some of the funnier moments, and I regrouped for my second class.

Heading into the second class, I planned on the same approach; looking at it as a training ride to help encourage Nemo in his first time jumping off property. I headed towards the first fence, and rode him forward, preparing myself for any sort of hesitation. I was so proud of him when, to my surprise, he started bravely cantering around the course just like he does at home. It was great to see him learn from his first class, and bravely succeed in the next one. Thinking on my riding, because I relaxed and enjoyed his first attempt, it gave him the confidence to succeed in the second round, and I made sure to take that great point away from our ride. As my friends and I packed up the trailer and loaded the horses to head home, I looked back on the day, and am very excited to do another jumper show with Nemo soon.

Posted in Stories & Adventures

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