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Watch Me Jump. But Keep it Quiet.

By Cindy Hale

Monday, September 14, 2010

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I made a short video of me jumping my sister’s horse, Topper, and you can watch it here on my blog. Just keep it between us. You see, after I recovered from my riding accident a few years ago I promised my husband, Ron, that I wouldn’t jump horses any more. But I can’t help myself. There’s something almost magical, otherworldly, about cantering down to an object in perfect synch with the horse beneath you, and then taking flight. It’s the closest you can come to riding Pegasus.

Because I have some physical problems with my right arm, jumping a horse—in fact merely riding huntseat—presents some difficulties for me. I’ve lost much of the ability to use my right arm correctly to laterally supple and bend a horse to the right. That’s why I primarily ride western now. But when I slide my feet into the irons of an English saddle, I feel at home. So my guilty pleasure is that a couple times a month (truly no more often than that) I go over to my parents’ place, tack up my sister’s horse Topper, and hop him over a few low jumps for old time’s sake.

Topper is the perfect enabler. He’s the horse I touted recently on a previous blog as one example of a horse purchased off the Internet that turned out well. Though my sister and I had continuous support from professional trainers along the way, the two of us trained Topper ourselves. He was that easy of a project. He’s always had a happy-go-lucky attitude, whether he’s jumping, cruising down the trail in western tack or wandering loose around the property sticking his chestnut nose where it doesn’t belong. Like into the vegetable garden or my mother’s rose bushes. He’s a reliable horse for someone like me to jump once in a while.

When you  watch this video, keep in mind that Topper competed as a hunter, not a jumper, and I am riding him in that style. If I were schooling him as a jumper or equitation/medal horse I’d be riding him in more of a collected frame, he’d be more consistently on the bit, and I’d be sitting in a deeper seat with my upper body in a more vertical position. But in hunters the focus is on remaining soft, on a consistent rhythm, so that ideally each jump is taken in a relaxed and quiet manner.

Oh. And you’ll probably laugh about the way that I once again gesture grandly with my arms. What’s up with that? In my next video, maybe I’ll have someone tape my arms to my sides and see if I’m still able to communicate. At any rate, I hope you enjoy going along for a short, fun ride with me aboard my sister’s Internet wonder horse. And we’ll keep it our little secret.

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Reader Comments

CINDY HALE    HORSE CHANNEL, CA

9/22/2010 1:58:50 PM

YES, MY SISTER & I DECIDED TO TAG ALL OF OUR HOMEMADE HORSE VIDEOS AS AN "EL RANCHITO PRODUCTION" BECAUSE THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN OUR NICKNAME FOR OUR PARENTS' LITTLE PLACE.

GLAD YOU LIKE MY VIDEOS, AS UNPROFESSIONAL AS THEY ARE. I'M SURE THAT THERE WILL BE MORE!

Ashley    Somewhere in, CT

9/19/2010 4:06:13 PM

LOL a ranchito production! Topper looks like such a good boy. Love seeing these videos!

Miranda    The Plains, VA

9/15/2010 10:14:22 AM

What a nice horse! Cindy, you would never guess your right arm is challenged, you make such a nice pair. Topper is so handsome!

CINDY HALE    HORSE CHANNEL, CA

9/15/2010 8:26:37 AM

HA! YES, THE NAVAJO-UNDER-THE-ENGLISH-SADDLE-PAD IS INDEED "THE FASHION." IT'S ONE OF THE FEW WAYS HUNTSEAT RIDERS GET TO LOOK A LITTLE BIT ROWDY. OR USE SOME COLOR. IT'S THE LOW END VERSION OF THE SQUARE, QUILTED SADDLE PAD UNDERNEATH THE ENGLISH SADDLE PAD.

TOPPER IS A DOLL. HE ALSO WAS A GOOD HORSE FOR MY SISTER TO SHOW, WHERE HIS COMPETITION NAME WAS "FOOTLIGHTS" BECAUSE OF HIS FOUR HIGH WHITE STOCKINGS.

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