After I finished giving my Saturday morning lessons at Sue's place (my former coach's facility) I had time to climb aboard Topper, my sister's Thoroughbred, and give him a little school over the jumps. I truly do enjoy riding Topper. Despite his occasional bouts of goofiness, he's quite the good boy. I've ridden him off and on since Jill got him through a Thoroughbred "rescue" organization, and I even showed him a few times before I got hurt. So when my mom and Jill arrived with Topper in tow, I pulled on my half-chaps, strapped on my helmet, and hopped on. Here's how it went:
First of all I must provide a close-up of Jill's knees as she balances herself on her walker. This is why SHE is not currently riding Topper: she just had her second knee replacement surgery. Notice the matching scars on her legs. If she were a horse at an auction, you would not want to bid on her.
Here I am aboard Topper. I'm patting him because in his mind he's thinking, "Uh-oh. All signs point to 'Bad'." He can already tell it's his Aunt Cindy on board, the lady who first introduced him to jumping, flying lead changes and the fact that hunter courses usually require at least 8 jumping efforts before a horse can pause for a treat.
Topper is a 2'6" horse, meaning he isn't really athletic enough to cruise around bigger, stouter courses of jumps. That's primarily due to the after effects of too much racing. But he's safe and reliable over the lower stuff like this, which is fine with me since my husband would throw a hissy fit if he knew I was jumping even this high. Since my accident I promised him I really wouldn't jump horses anymore. <*cough*>. And yes, I realize I'm jumping a little off-center here, but that's because Jill was dead ahead, taking the photo, and she was teetering on her walker. As I was cantering to the jump I had this horrible vision of Topper landing, galloping up to his Mom in hopes of getting a peppermint and ending up entangled in her walker. I didn't think Jill's orthopedic surgeon would appreciate that.
The schooling session is over and Topper is back in the cross-ties, awaiting his bath. But first he must consume at least a half dozen peppermint candies, payback for packing me around the jumps and putting up with my constant requests to keep galloping. Honestly, who on earth thought this animal had any talent or motivation to be a race horse? Topper says, "Eh, being a race horse required far too much effort. Plus I had to get up really early in the morning, and that just didn't fit with my social plans."
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