Near miss

Friday evening Henry and I had another lesson with Jonna. After nearly 2 weeks off from his abscess, he has been feeling rather fresh so it was quite good timing that Jonna was in Perth again. I only have 2 lessons this time round, one with Henry and one with Coolie, both jumping.

After tacking up Henry and I went for a walk down the road while the lesson before us finished. Once in the arena, we saw Jonna had some very interesting exercises set up, all of them very challenging.

We warmed up, and popped a little cross rail I made Jonna put down to get us in the groove. Then Jonna had us trot into a bounce. Henry has only seen a bounce once before and first time through his legs went everywhere! Second time through he didn't make that mistake again and fairly jumped me out of the tack. We passed through a number of times, with Jonna gradually increasing the height of the jumps, until the back rail was at about 90(!).

Look at his cute little form. He's really working this stuff out

Once we got the bounce down both reins Jonna had us start on the left rein, go over the bounce and turn left into a 2 stride. First time though I cut the corner, didn't support Henry enough and he barley made it over the first jump. We came around again and I gave him a much better ride, and he pinged all the jumps well, just rushing out of the double.

We then came through the double from the other direction and it was a mess to say the least. I gave Henry a bad ride again, didn't support him enough and he jumped the first fence before drifting left and not making it to the second fence, nearly ditching me in the process. I was sure I was a goner but sheer will power kept me on the saddle. I recommend watching the video!

I got myself back into the saddle and came around again and Henry popped it fine, but he was rattled and running. Jonna had me sharpen my halts, and then come through again, this time getting a good ride. Henry was feeling fairly bucky at this point, and I halted him when he got a little too expressive. Halting is only half the job though, as Jonna explained.  have to follow up by going forward after the halt. This is the hardest thing, and I found myself struggling to do so.

Jonna really wanted me to take Henry for a really forward canter but between him being extra fresh during the week and my near miss during the lesson, I was struggling to push him forward. I did a lap in a forward-ish canter and then Jonna told me to hand the reins to him.

Jonna hopped on and Henry wasn't sire what he was in for. Jonna immediately got him moving forward, and popped him over some jumps. If Henry rushed, or got a bit pig-rooty, he halted an sent him straight forward again, It looked messy, but Jonna's timing was perfect, not confusing Henry at all.

If Henry rushed, Jonna halted and then sent him forward, and kept him thinking forward to the jumps. It was great to watch someone else ride Henry, he is looking good! It was also good to see that even with a lot of pressure Henry didn't respond with the same amount of pressure, he gave in and got on with what was being asked. It was very reassuring and a good reminder that I bought this horse for a reason.

Jonna tuned Henry up quite quickly and jumped a few fences before we called it a day. He gets to come back for lesson number 2 tomorrow instead of Coolie. We need a follow up session and Jonna will ride him again and so will I.

Weirdly I wasn't afraid duding any of the lesson, I was just struggling to make myself want to push forward. I know I needed to but I just wasn't sure I could. Watching Jonna and seeing how to do it and how Henry reacted was great for my confidence and I was really looking forward to improving the next day.

It was a tough lesson, and it had a lot of learning curves but it's been brewing under the surface for a while and I am pleased it all came out with Jonna here.


  1. It’s so hard when they’re green bc they don’t even really know how to make mistakes or recover from them, so you’re never really sure what’s going to happen. Nice job sticking with it tho - sounds like Henry learned some important lessons !

    1. Yeah, thats definitely the hardest part to overcome, but the more you progress the less it happens. He's a very good boy and tries hard, plus he seems to enjoy learning which makes things far easier!


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