Reader Tip: A lightbulb moment

Does anybody else out there fret about distances? Reader Wende Zinter says she feels like she has “unlocked a super secret” that guarantees success at every jump, and she wants to share it with HN!

From Wende:

Hello Horse Nation!

I was wondering if I could share with you and your readers a lightbulb moment that I had in my jumping lesson this evening.

My name is Wende (or should I say “beginner”) and I am owned by a lovely (and only sometimes naughty) eventer gelding named Beau. Beau and I are a newish pairing and are still figuring each other out; anyhow, back to the light bulb moment: OK, I have always had a bit of trouble “seeing distances”… meaning I never seem to know when Mr.Beau’s (and previous saintly horses’) feet are going to leave the ground. This is something that I would get so hyper-focused on during a jumping course that it would be almost all I was thinking about–not so good considering I WAS NOT GETTING IT RIGHT! Am I alone in this?

Anyhow, tonight as we started cantering and headed out for our first course of jumps a little voice in my head said, “It doesn’t matter.” Simply. And that was my mantra for the rest of the lesson–my first in a long time without getting left behind, or getting in the way.

“It doesn’t matter” when my horse takes off if I am cantering in good rhythm, I am quiet with my body, and I am in a prepared three-point position with my shoulders back, heels down, and eyes up. It really doesn’t. In this secure position I’m just not going to be too far behind or ahead. When takeoff occurs you simply “stay with him” as they say and allow the natural movement of the horse over the jump to close your hip angle. It takes all the guesswork out of jumping!!!

I feel like I have unlocked a super secret… although maybe everybody else already jumps like this and I am just way behind the curve (in which case, that is embarrassing but, hey, there has got to be at least one or two other slow learners out there who are constantly trying to guess the exact second of takeoff–right?) I just needed to add “it doesn’t matter” into the equation to be able to stop guessing and start jumping!

Wende and Beau during their "lightbulb moment" lesson

Do you have an “lightbulb moment” insight to share with Horse Nation? Email it to [email protected].

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