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