The Jump

by Natalya

Natalya and Matti

I still remember the day I went over my first jump. It was morning and the sunlight was filtering through the dusty skylights in the barn I was tacking up in. Matti stood quietly while I tacked her up as if she was expecting something in the lesson to be wonderful and wanted to get to it right away. While I was carrying Matti's saddle in to tack her up, Kathy, my trainer, came in. What she said next made me drop the saddle I was holding. Her voice drifted through the barn, echoing all the way down the aisle toward me," Hello Nat, would you like to try a jump today on Matti?" I had never tried a jump before so I was so excited and scared that I couldn't answer. But Kathy just smiled and walked out toward the arena.

When I led matti into the arena, I saw a small cross-rail set up in the middle. I glanced at Kathy but she was busy fiddling with something on her shoe and did not see me.

I mounted, feeling scared but excited. We did some dressage and flatwork and I started to feel better. Maybe the jump wouldn't be so hard. I kept glancing at it throughout the lesson and trying to make myself believe that it was going to be fine. But no matter how much I looked at it, it still seemed so frightening.

Soon Kathy started talking about steering a horse toward a jump, and your position. I kept on glancing at the jump and feeling more and more scared by the minute. When I finally headed toward the jump I was deaf to what Kathy was saying and my mind was blank. But Matti did it all and I was able to just concentrate on my position. It was like flying. I wanted to do it again and again.

As I straightened out for the first jump it felt as if someone was blowing up a huge balloon inside me, and it was getting too big. But when matti cleared the jump, it felt as if all the air was let out softly. I hugged matti and steered her toward the jump again. But this time I could concentrate better since only excitement was in me and I could hold that down easier than fear. Again the feeling of flying caressed me. I will remember that feeling of when I went over my first jump forever!!!