Coach Lauren Turner of River Birch Farm arranged for us to have a private clinic with legendary international event rider Buck Davidson while we’re here hanging out in Florida and JJ and I were lucky enough to be able to attend!
Yesterday afternoon, we trailered over to Buck’s beautiful barn and got going with our warmup. He started us off in his jump arena and we worked over poles to focus first on straightness. It was an interesting exercise to get back to basics and expose all of our weaknesses, and I liked how Buck paid attention to doing things right rather than rushing into anything.
Soon we progressed to actual jumps, and JJ and I volunteered to go first. He was, of course, absolutely wonderful and did everything I asked and made me so proud. Surprisingly, I had no nerves whatsoever riding for Buck, probably because I was too busy having so much fun! (I learned last year that there’s no point in being perfect in a clinic, so maybe that was it, too.)
Later, we moved into the cross country field to tackle some solid obstacles. Buck told us that, with the exception of three or four questions, everything was set at Training height or higher and, incredibly, about 85% of the stuff actually seemed like stuff we could do.
He gave us a few small courses to run, and JJ was wonderful. He put us over a brush jump that was larger than I was comfortable with and I definitely didn’t ride it straight enough or confidently enough so JJ stopped, but he gave me plenty of warning so I stayed on, came back around, and popped it easily the second time.
We also tackled our very first corner (and JJ was a BOSS!) and a few other “scary” fences that were crazy stupid fun – we had a blast!!
I’m super grateful for the opportunities we’re enjoying the privilege of being a part of this week, and highly recommend to anyone considering coming to Ocala to absolutely make it happen!
The hunters are right! Don’t let your horse think the last jump means he’s done – finish every round with a proper closing circle to help prevent him from quitting early when it counts.
Ainsley Jacobs is an adult amateur based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She started riding huntseat equitation when she was eight, and has tried practically every discipline since then. In 2014, Ainsley discovered eventing and it changed her life! She purchased her first horse, JJ Spot, in February 2016 and chronicles their successes (and struggles) of learning to overcome literal and figurative obstacles in her blog at www.RideHeelsDown.com.