So as I am staring out at the falling snow on my day off I started wondering back to the old days..
In the winter months we used to have competitions at school called "Chase me Charlie's"
Essentially we'd be up in the indoor and go through a 2-3 fence grid with the last oxer being raised higher and higher. And the last pair standing won.
Now... this was back a ways in time and way before insurance policies at barns became so pricey and outrageous.
But I was wondering... do people push their limits, in fun competition here and there? And I wondered because I know that the knowledge of having jumped and lived through a 4'+ oxer propelled my competition confidence come spring. Let's face it... I can do math....I can read that the max height for advanced is 3'11" for solid and 4'6" for brush. And knowing that I'd cleared an "advanced" height fence made training not look quite as scary.
Also these jumping competitions made any clinics with Bruce D much easier as he too likes to hike the grids up to serious sizes...even with the novice groups.
So lets hear it.... what do you all do now a days?
"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries
They've done this at my barn a couple of times after a clinic or little barn 2-phase. Only they call it "knock-down-and-out". I think I'd be too chicken to try it, but some of the kids like to participate.
I've jumped 4' fences from time to time . . . but nothing with an Advanced level spread to it! THAT is the part that makes the upper levels permanently unattainable for me.
These days I'd probably not do any homegrown Puissance classes, but I would be game to jump Very Big Stuff in a clinic under the right circumstances. Meaning, on someone else's BIG jumper! Bonnie's got four feet in her but no higher. Keebler could do more but he's so little that I wouldn't be able to see the other side!
I'm pretty sure I was dropped on my head as a child (or thrown into walls by too many ponies), because I like to push my limits on my own. I like to test myself and my pony and really put us up to a challenge. I like to practice sizable fences, difficult turns, and challenging spreads at home in our normal schooling. I obviously don't do this ALL the time and I don't like to jump my horse into the ground, but I do like a regular challenge. Lately we've been working on greater width of jumps--so only jumping ~3'3"-3'6", but increasing the width of the spread.
When I go to shows, the jumps and courses are pretty boring after the crazy stuff I think up at home!
I used to do the puissances at pony camp as a kid/preteen. My 13.2hh pony regularly won them at around 4'3". It was awesome!
As kids we used to dare each other to jump stuff, especially bareback. The highest I've ever jumped was on my last horse, and that was bareback. About 3'9". We were just playing around and setting up stuff. We put a stick to it later and eeekkkk!!!!! Gave me some confidence though! My mare now is a green bean, and needs some confidence from time to time, so I haven't gone crazy with her yet. Although she LOVES banks and stuff like that so we've schooled them well above our level. Those are new to me too so that's given me new confidence. I thrive on peer pressure for that kind of stuff, and unfortunately some of my riding buddies are tame and I'm always the one daring them.
Em, back in my youth, before you were even born, I did the jumpers. I used to ride with some of the big mucky mucks on occasion...thinking back, I wasn't frightened then but if I had to do it now, I'd probably have a stroke. Anyhow, we did those grids on a regular basis. Pole, bounce to X, bounce to X, bounce to vertical, 1 stride to oxer. That oxer grew and grew. As I came around to come through again, the enormously exciting sound of clinking and clunking jump cups signaled that things were getting more and more intense. The highest I ever went was 5'5". Holy smokes, that was the most fun and exciting thing. That's when my little horse was dubbed The Kangaroo. 15.2 TB/SB/QH. ALL that horse wanted to do was JUMP.
We also did jumper type courses holding eggs in our hands-each time around the course clean, you got another egg to carry. I did it once with 4 in one hand, 3 in the other before they all smeared all over me. Courses with no stirrups literally WOULD kill me now. Courses with ten dollar bills under the thighs. Also jumping with eggs in spoons. All these 'games' taught us good position, concentration skills and gave us guts. Generally fences were set at about 3'6".
Now that my "youngster" has finished growing I'd like to do some of the same with him. I'm guessing 4' will be my ultimate maximum max, should I live so long!
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
I'm such a natural chicken, I looove doing those kinds of gymnastics because before you know it you're jumping way higher than you ever thought you could! And it's true, after doing a 4'3" oxer at the end of a gymnastic (the highest I think I've ever done), even if it's just one fence (that the nature of the gymnastic basically guarantees you can't "miss" to!!), it makes 3'3"-3'6" fences seem a lot more doable.
I once also jumped the 4'6" split rail fence line at home, just to prove to myself I could do it. My horse was so shocked he didn't even have time to think about how stupid I was being and just went for it, bless his heart After that (airy, no groundline, uphill and leaning a little bit back at you), NOTHING on cross country seemed scary!!
We used to do "Chase me Charlies". I ended up at 4'2" on a backyard (awesome) arab pony mare. I was up against another backyard (equally awesome) grade pony gelding. I was probably 13 then.
I also used to event a VERY scopey, careful TB mare. I did a Pony Club show jump rally at 4'3". Three rounds at that height, two rails total. She was a super cool mare. I was probably 15 years old then.
NOW! Novice sized fences make me a bit wide eyed on my current green bean.... and he's very straightforward over fences.
(For the record, I'm only 24)
Proud former owner of a Wee Dee Trrr
Proud half-owner of a Picasso Pony
I have, I guess, depending on what you consider big, but not as part of a regular training program. I've shown a couple of horses in the Level 5s, which did make the training/prelim they saw at events seem easier.
I also jumped ~5' a few times as a kid to see if various horses could do it, and jumped one of my current ones 5'3 when a jumper trainer was trying him and wanted to see how he'd do it.
But I haven't really done it in a productive or training-oriented way as yet. And now I have a couple babies so will have to exercise restraint, but I agree there is nothing like jumping a huge gymnastic.
Let's just say when we finally make it to the cross country course come late Feb, it is the least sketchy thing we have seen in MONTHS. lol.
LOL! As it should be. The s#!t I used to jump while galloping thru snow drifts makes my heart skip a beat now that I am an old lady and I actually *paid* for my horses. Can't wait to watch my daughter gallop over those same hills bareback in a halter and leadrope
A couple years ago we had some little gymkahnas at the barn and had a chase me charlie class that finished up around 4'+. My students liked that!
I used to showjump at 4'3" and that particular horse I schooled 5' a few times.... that was pretty neat. My Prelim horses I like to jump around 4' now and again, and jump 4' courses when thinking about moving up. I think my old Prelim horse I jumped through grids finishing up at 4'6". Love grids.
Fun stuff!!! We did the bareback classes too, and I think I went up to 3'9" on my 14.3 pony bareback and won. The problem wasn't the fence so much.. as the giant buck on landing. Hee hee... Witchy little mare, but she could jump.
I also LOVE jumping the grids with the last jump getting bumped higher and higher! The gymnastic just sets them right up for it... and before you know it.. you're flying!!! Best confidence boost
We occasionally jump some "big scaries" out XC schooling just to get that forward out of a gallop jump feeling back Love it!!!
I have jumped 2 VBF (very big fences) in my life. Both Prelim. One was on my old schoolmaster. He kindly took me over a HUGE single chevron. I was doing Novice, timidly, at the time. God bless schoolmasters. I landed up on his neck, feet in his flanks, my crotch in front of the pommel. He literally kept lifting his shoulders with each canter stride, holding his line straight as could be, never offering to buck, to literally pitch me back into the saddle. Next time around I stayed where I was supposed to :-)
The other VBF, also a prelim, was on my big mare. We were doing Novice at the time. (Still doing Novice!). I was clinicing with Jimmy Woffard. He pointed to a Prelim coop and said jump it. I said "you are kidding, right?". He said "no". So we jumped it. She sailed right over it as I said OH SHIIIIIII* going over it.
The highest I went in a grid was 4'6" on an awesome jumper at my old H/J barn. We just to have grid weeks and that last oxer would just keep growing and growing . . . We used to do the crazy stuff, too. No reins, no stirrups, close your eyes. Hard to jump ahead like that.
I really want to teach my current mare to not melt down in a gymnastic so we can get back into it. Nothing teaches patience and how to jump big like a grid. The mare has springs, I'd love to see her try!