My hacking buddy, Suki Low whom I met in GHRC texted me out of nowhere “U keen on jumping?”. Jumping has always been at the back of my mind. I have always been impressed by how professional show jumpers elegantly cantering and jumping over tall fences. Throughout all my visits to different stables, I particularly like AS Equestrian Center when I went hacking with Aqil few months back. I replied, “Yup, let’s give it a try!”
Sunday, we met up in AS Equestrian Center for our first jumping lesson. Well, it was my first jumping lesson but not for Suki. She was jumping back in Netherlands 20 years ago. In one jump, her pony (1.35m tall) and her were jumping an oxer of 1.10m got his belly stuck in mid air. He felt down, rolled over her and the obstacle collapsed. You can imagine it was quite a chaos. Since then, she has lost her confidence in jumping and has not been jumping. Last Sunday was her first jump since 20 years!
Aqil started the lesson by explaining the basics of the equipment.
Aqil got Marco for Suki to ride on to warm up.
Aqil got me another horse, Nixs Bahamdan to warm up. A fairly tall and slightly slim dark brown horse.
While trotting at one particular corner, he consistently likes to start cantering. Probably due to his previous training that got him cantering at that corner.
Then, Aqil taught us about sitting 2-point to get ready for our jump.
Here go Suki’s first jump on Marco!
Suki made a turn at the corner and go for another jump.
She continues to go on for another 10-15 jumps throughout the lesson.
We exchanged horses. Suki definitely looked super happy for making so many jumps after 20 years!
First I trot on Marco for a round or two. Then, Aqil arranged the jumping pole for me to trot over. Next, he made a low barrier for me to jump over.
Here goes my virgin jump!
And another jump…
The poles are there to make sure we pass through the yellow section to stay in the middle.
At one jump, Suki was walking across the landing area. I was shouting “Horse coming!” to make sure she knows I was approaching.
Aqil was explaining a similar experience he had while he was training in Europe doing a 1.6m jump. There was a person standing and chatting right in the middle while Aqil was approaching fast. The horse was too fast to stop. Since he knew his horse could jump over that person, so he jumped!
After a jump, Aqil coached me on what could be improved further.
Aqil showed me I was hunching my back.
Aqil showed me I should be straightening my back instead while jumping.
People say horse is the reflection of the rider. I didn’t really quite understand that until I do jumping.
Obviously, I was a little unsure and worried in my first few jumps. When Aqil asked me if I was scared, I acted and responded confidently that I was not. However, Marco could picked up such subtle hint and amplified the emotion by 10 times. This is a time when Marco moved away from the jumping poles while I was approaching with an unsure emotion. A little worry on the rider has such an impact on the horse.
To be fair, I’m sure Marco is a very well trained horse for jumping. If it’s not for such a well trained horse, I wouldn’t be able to make so many jumps in my first lesson. Well, instead of saying I learn jumping, I should say Marco taught me how to jump.
Aqil was taking a photo of my jump. How thoughtful!
After making about 10-15 jumps, we slow walk to let Marco rest.
Jumping is not as hard as I initially thought. I often see people falling off from horses on YouTube videos. That gave me really bad impression how dangerous jumping could be. Well I’m not saying jumping is not dangerous, it is just not as bad as I initially thought. In fact, throughout our jumps in our first lesson, none of us felt down.
Big part of the reason for such a satisfying and pleasant jumping lesson has to do with Aqil and Marco. First, Aqil is a very experienced jumper himself and he still actively jumps. He breaks down the transition so seamlessly to the point it felt so natural for us to jump 80 cm at the end of our first lesson. Second, Marco is a fantastic jumping horse. Like I said earlier, instead of claiming I’m learning how to jump, the more accurate way to say is Marco was teaching me how to jump.
Obviously, our hands might not be in the right position, our heels might not be pointing down, our back were hunching (okay probably just me) and I’m sure there are still a lot to improve. But the important thing is we did jump. A lot of jumps!
Frankly, I did not have much expectation before stepping in. It took me a long time to trot steadily and to canter when I first started learning horse riding. I thought jumping is going to be another steep learning curve. However, it was surprisingly easy with the right coach and the right horse. Thanks Aqil! Thanks Marco! Also thanks Suki for giving me a kick to get me started in jumping!
It was a really pleasant jumping lesson, really looking forward for my next lesson!
If you want to learn jumping, I highly recommend you to visit AS Equestrian Center. The fee is pretty affordable at RM80/lesson. Give Aqil (017-620 0027) a call and he will he happy to assist you further.
Here is the location. Please note that the location in Waze is incorrect.