I was up at 5am this morning to get Rupert ready to go on a show jumping outing before coming into the shop this morning! We went out to Tanglewood Farm, a completely new venue for both of us. Our first time going out since mid-August on our hound exercise, and I couldn’t even tell you the last time we jumped a full course (maybe when I went to Willoughby?!). So I was fully expecting the ginger missile to be unleashed.
I was wrong. Kind of.
To start with, I just had a little course of about 70cm up as I was expecting real problems with there being fillers under every fence and strange jump wings. Instead, Rupert was an angel. He barely looked at the fillers- a little bit of extra leg and he asked no questions. He was nice and steady (hallelujah!!!) the entire way around the course. Cue a very proud mum!
The issues arose when we put the course up to around 1m. He started to bury himself under the fences (as he always does) which gave us some very dodgy strides and some awkward moments when I tried to ask him to take off in a ‘normal’ place. However, he was very honest and still jumped most of the fences, even if it wasn’t very fashionable!
He had no trouble with the wide 1m spread ‘stable’ fence- who said cobs can’t jump?!
We went with friends from the yard; one who took Rupert and I in her lorry along with her horse and another who kindly came as jump steward/instructor. Rupert and I took another break while our friend was jumping the course. After having a couple of run outs when we went round the course the previous time (my fault for not having enough leg and control of his wayward shoulders), I wanted to pop through some of the doubles nicely before we left.
Rupert decided this was not going to happen. He started running out and stopping at the fences before jumping from a stand-still, just because he was feeling naughty and tired. In the end, I settled for going over the fences I asked and called it a day.
So, today I’ve learned I must be doing something right as, previously, he would have never gone over all of those fillers, especially not first time with no questions asked. Rupert has also reminded me of how honest he can actually be- he definitely saved me a few times today! I know Rupert has the ability to jump a 1m course easily but there were issues today, which I’ve pinpointed to mainly a lack of control over his shoulders which allows him to run out and drift as well as striding, meaning I need to have a more adjustable canter.
Plenty of positives to take back from today, but lots too work on too!
P.S. The Red Bull worked for Rupert. It clearly didn’t give me wings as I got out-jumped!