• Kirsten Jackson

It's OK to change your mind.

As I loped Leo around on Saturday I couldn’t help but be happy and content. I wasn’t bored, or upset that we weren’t taking that canter to a jump set up, I was relaxed and happy. Isn’t that what this sport and lifestyle should be about?

This change in mindset happened quickly and suddenly. 3 months ago I was heartbroken at the news this horse wouldn’t be the one to take me into the 1.30 jumper ring (or even a step to that). I figured I would sell him as a dressage horse, buy another prospect and start over again. Start over. The more I thought about it the less I wanted to do it.

When I sold Tango to buy Leo I was at a different point in my life. I was in college, I worked part time, I had all the flexibility to take on a young, spunky, 5yr old with high hopes of big jumps. I had a barn situation that allowed me to jump whenever I wanted and didn’t require being in a training program. Fast forward, I now work pretty much 2 jobs and fitting in riding on top of that means waking up at 4:30am during the week to ride. (Ugh adulting, am I right?) So what if I did the same thing? Sold Leo and started over? My schedule hasn’t changed. I would have to build that new relationship over 4:30am rides. To do…. What ? A week of showing I can’t afford? Be in a training program I also can’t afford? My new jumper would be chillin', and not jumping until I could afford regular lessons/training.

Competing at Santa Fe in 2017. We didn't go a single round without having a minimum of 8 faults. - thank goodness 6 and under classes were $5 hahaha.

Those of you who have met Leo will know that he is the most delightful, sweetheart of a creature. Possibly the coolest horse to ever walk the planet. He is tolerant, quiet, silly, no truly annoying or unruly quirks. His only flaws are 1) cribbing 2) doesn’t like jumping. He is 100% sound, young, athletic and talented. This is where my mindset had to change. I could no longer be pessimistic about not jumping. Honestly it could be SO much worse. Leo could have had a career (or life) ending injury, or had to become a pasture pet.

I have always been an equestrian that wants to learn as much a possible. Just because my horse stops jumping doesn’t mean the learning stops. Maybe we will try trick riding? Maybe we will give dressage a real try? Maybe I will teach him to run barrels (LOL can you imagine the bucking?) Liberty looks like fun! Bareback and bridleless anyone? I believe there’s a whole lot more Leo has to teach me.

This girl will always be a jumper at heart. And I hope one day I’ll add a jumper to the herd. But for now, I will fight off anyone trying to take away my oh so lovely Saturday lopes around the ring.

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