The Oakley Diaries 42 - A Goal Achieved

   We finally achieved a short-term goal that I'd set, which is, to clear 4' (1.2m).


   Early this year, I'd set that as a goal to work towards, because I firmly believe that one must always have a goal in everything, something to work towards. A goal gives one a reason to do things, to learn, to improve. Goals also measure milestones, points where one can look back and feel a sense of achievement.

   I also believe one should have at least one (unreasonable) long-term goal, something that is possible, but highly improbable (like, say winning gold at the World Equestrian Games). With some ultimate goal, one can define a number of achievable, milestone goals along the way. This was one of mine. It's part of a key principle of learning that I worked out, the incremental learning I wrote about in 2017.

   It turns out, other people, professionals like Warwick Schiller, also recommend learning in this way. He calls it The Donkey Kong Principle.

   Shortly after we managed to do that jump, we tried a 'broken line' off to the right... and Oakley jumped and wanted to go left... and, well, when I'm directing to the right and he's jogging to the left on landing, and I'm not back in the saddle yet, so there is no horse under me while I'm still descending from the height of a jump, then a hard landing on my right side on wet sand is... well I'll just say it's painful.

   He did look very contrite when he came trotting back to check me out.

   And I must confess to some schadenfreude: a week later, I watched one of the very best professional jumpers in the world have a fall at the Royal Winter Fair in exactly the same way that I did, with exactly the same result.

   So, I'm taking it easy for the next couple of months, to work on other projects, but my next goal is to consistently jump 4', but I'm going to save that for spring.

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on December 7, 2019 at 11:09am


You have now jumped higher than I ever did in my youth.

The one time I tried 3'9" I also fell off.  Since I was pregnant my balance was worse than usual and I had to stop jumping a while, oh well, and when I started jumping again I kept to 3'6".

I have been impressed with your progress and how you have educated yourself about riding.  I hope your riding teacher is as impressed as I am because he should be.

Enjoy your 4" jumps, that is where the horse truly starts to FLY over the jump!

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