Progress Post ~ Jumping with Coco

Following our last post about our trip to the National Horse Sport Arena, I decided I wanted to do a post about mine and Coco’s journey into the world of jumping!


A bit of background for those who haven’t been following Coco…

IMG_4001I’ve had Coco for nearly a year now and in that time we haven’t been very adventurous. I’ve played it very safe, doing most of my schooling with her at home in familiar surroundings as she’s quite a spooky mare in new places (and old places apparently, check out my blogpost on Coco’s first time out of the yard for more info on that). 

I was always taught that the key to good jumping was good flatwork and Coco’s flatwork was far from good for quite a while so we didn’t start jumping until about 6 months ago. And while I love jumping, it was always an area where I lacked confidence to really push myself and I always knew I would want the guidance of an instructor when it came to teaching a youngster…enter Sue Byrne the perfect combination of hard ass and confidence giver! Exactly what I needed.


Stretching_2After the first couple of lessons we started to see some problems arise on both mine and Coco’s side. I was unable to see a stride and Coco developed her bunny-hopping evasion tactics. As riding sessions got on Coco would get more and more worked up and it would be nearly impossible to get her over a fence without chasing her into it. She became very very hard work.

2017-06-25 23_41_48I wasn’t the most confident jumper to begin with so once she started this behaviour it really knocked my confidence with her. I started worrying that every time I messed up I was ruining all of the potential Coco had to be a great jumper. Fortunately however Coco had enough confidence for the two of us and despite my blunders she was always willing to go back and try again with me. I’m not sure other horses would have been as forgiving.IMG_4303

It turned out that Coco’s bunny-hopping was a symptom of an ill-fitting saddle so once I got that sorted and a physio out to fix any damage caused, that behaviour stopped. Since then it feels like we’ve really started to click. I feel that I can read Coco so much better now and I think we’re ready to start pushing ourselves to do more. 

In the last few weeks we’ve had a lot of firsts. We jumped our first course of jumps in our first official schooling session at the National Horse Sport Arena. We jumped our highest jump yet 1m 10cm. And last week we jumped in our first ever competition and went double clear, finishing in 2nd place! What more could I want from my fantastic little mare!?

So what’s next? I’m going to take the winter to get Coco out jumping in some schooling shows and get her experience up. Im dying to try her out cross country too so hopefully we can arrange a trip in the next few weeks. And then for next year I hope to register her with the SJI and start competing! I’m looking forward to every second of it!

Coco Jumping_16th Sept_3

Thanks for reading 😀

 Orla & Coco


15 thoughts on “Progress Post ~ Jumping with Coco

  1. Good to know you solved the bunny hopping problem. It is a good owner who will look for a physical cause of discomfort rather than just blaming the horse for “bad attitude” .

    1. If I’ve learned anything over the last year its that if your horse is acting out, 9 times out of 10 its because something is causing discomfort or pain. So in future I will always check if there’s anything not right before jumping to the bad attitude answer!

  2. Yay! I’m so glad things are getting along better with jumping! Keep up the good work!

  3. So much of this post resonates with me!!! Are you reading my mind? “I wasn’t the most confident jumper to begin with so once she started this behaviour it really knocked my confidence with her.” My OTTB Knight would ALWAYS take the long spot and it has dampened my enthusiasm for jumping on him since a) I feel like a newbie since I’ve never owned a green horse like that before b) I worry I will ruin him if I apply too much pressure/too hard of aids c) as a middle aged rider, everything challenging over fences gives me anxiety. I am glad we both have awesome trainers to help us. I just wish my pace of progress weren’t so painfully slow. First ulcers, then a fall, then a bad back (mine), then he got cast, etc. etc. Thanks for listening and go have more fun with your pony!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It’s great that you can relate 😊 I completely understand what you mean though, progress can be so painfully slow sometimes! Best of luck with your OTTB..any progress is great progress so I’m sure you’ll get there 😊

  4. I love this! Time, patience, and figuring out what works and doesn’t is such a part of riding. Glad to see how far you two have come together. I’m not quite confident jumping either and have been working on that for a long time.

    1. Absolutely and it’s such a big part of bringing on young horses too! Although it’s definitely a part of it that I really enjoy! Confidence in jumping is so hard to achieve and it’s so easy to get a setback but when you get to a point where it feels like it’s working it’s all worth it! I’m sure you’ll get there 😊

  5. You have a very lovely horse! I really understand where you are coming from with the confidence issues, I am like that with jumping too, but it is so good that you are overcoming them and you two look like a great team! I’ll look forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. Thank you so much 😊 so many people have said the same thing about jumping and half of them you wouldn’t have a clue that they felt that way so it’s nice to know there’s a few of us in the same boat 😊

    1. Completely missed your comment before! Thank you so much 🙂 We’ve been at a bit of a standstill the last few weeks but hopefully we’ll be back on track soon enough!!

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