Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Runkle and I have been chugging along at our work. On the flat I've been trying to get him to open up his stride, and in my jump lessons I've been working on getting him to sit and push off from the ground with his booty.

The flatwork is actually going amazingly. It blows my mind to think that a few months ago the only way I could get him to move forward or off my leg was to cow kick him like a seven year old on an obstinate Shetland. Our turning consisted mostly of running into walls and if I had as much weight in the bridle as I wanted I was just holding his nose to his chest.

Runkle's A-game face and cookie face are similar.
Now he's learning to do little baby lengthenings just through my seat and thighs and the shift in my posting. We (almost) never run into walls anymore. He's even got transitions! TRANSITIONS, PEOPLE. The canter is coming along but his walk/trot is obedient and balanced. I can push him into the bridle and he'll actually go to the bit instead of hovering around behind it.

We still have issues when I 'forget' to sit straight and I'll be honest, I have no idea what my right leg is doing because my right stirrup ALWAYS looks longer no matter what I do. But, when we trot and canter around we look like we know what we're doing.

The art of becoming functional.
And then there's jumping.

I don't mean that to sound like the jumping is going horribly (because it absolutely is not). I'll be honest though, I don't feel that same connection I do on the flat. I don't feel the seamless communication between my hands and his mouth, and my butt and his back. I've kind of been struggling with why but I think I've been afraid to say it out loud because I feel guilty.

I don't trust him yet. I could claim I do until I'm blue in the face but my heart and my body will betray me. I'm afraid to let him just canter down to a jump and 'figure it out' because I don't know what he'll do and I don't know that I can stay with it.

I need to let go of the reins and let him stretch his neck out but I'm worried if I don't STUFF HIM over the jump he won't go at all.

I feel bad even writing this because that's not fair to him at all. He was a little squirrelly in the beginning for sure, but when has he ever done me wrong? He always wants to do the very best for me. So I need to learn to trust him. How else am I going to get around the big boy cross country jumps if I don't?

We can do this.


  1. ugh trust and confidence are such funny fickle things... my mare has literally never ever done a single dirty thing *ever* in the three years i've been leasing her, and i still seriously struggle to just canter down to a jump and let her figure it out... letting go is hard!

    1. im just going to start by keeping a bottle of wine in my trunk. for 'emergencies'.

  2. Karen at Skidmore used to make me get in two point and loop my reins, grab mane, and stay that way for whole courses no matter the distances, corners, and whatnots. I did learn to let go, but you know I hated it for a while! I did learn to be happy being still and waiting, though-- yoga really helped me just take a breath and stay on pace. My micomanaging self totally gets you, and you're so self-aware that it will only get better!

  3. I love your self-awareness and honesty. I feel like I should have more useful things to say, but all else that I can think is, RUNKLE IS SO CUTE!


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