The Oakley Diaries 41 - The Tree Root Analogy

We are now jumping up to 1m, even over a 1m spread. It feels a lot like soaring. Of course, that is only possible because I have the ability to clamp my legs on, and no longer need to rip his hair out of his neck. Because I'm not flying out of the saddle, Oakley is no longer balking quite the way he used to.

Oh, he still stops in front of a jump he hasn't seen before, that'll be a given for ever. After eight years, he still freezes and tries to avoid and frequently stops, but in a different way. Ever seen a reining horse do that skid on the hind legs? He stops like that, without the dramatic skid.

It's because my legs have developed the strength to hold my entire seat in the saddle, and on Oakley.

My coach, T.H., calls it having the roots of a tree.

An apt analogy, because, just like a tree, I am anchored in the saddle, yet just like a tree, my torso is free to move around, to shift to maintain balance, and even be thrown forward if Oakley, or whatever horse I'm riding, comes to a sudden stop. My upper body folds forward, or gets jerked backward by a sudden take-off, but my legs, they are strong enough to stay where they are, like tree roots.

This means that I can begin to do the release over jumps, which has become increasingly necessary as the height goes up.

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Comment by B. G. Hearns on October 9, 2019 at 5:21pm

Release isn't really an issue over very small jumps. Once we start to get up there, it becomes increasingly necessary, right? So, now we're clearing over 1m (about 3 feet) it's now something that I've needed to increasingly work on.
Bit by bit, constant improvement. That is the goal.


Comment by Jackie Cochran on October 1, 2019 at 9:12am

I am glad that you are aiming for release over the jump.

It is so much easier to get the horse to do what you want after the fence if one does not drop contact over the fence.  BTDT!

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