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Buck on Landing

One of my favourite expressions of joy, which I encouraged wholeheartedly with my horses, was to show their joy and delight in their own athleticism with a buck on landing. They were most likely to do this at the crest of a hill, at the top of a bank, or after a complex series of fences that have challenged them. Wheeeee! A celebration! “Look what I can do!”

Back in the day, I could sit a buck. Or rather, I could float above them and let them rock and roll a bit under me, always laughing, loving the adrenaline, letting them go at a speed of their liking for a bit, thanking them and then asking them to move on to something that required their concentration again.

O’Reilly taught me this. My fiery red-headed Irish crossbred. I’ll never forget Robin Hahn coaching me in a brief jump school between the initial veterinary inspection and the jog at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. It was NOT the time to teach something new, or practice anything in particular. The sole purpose of this jump school was to allow O’Reilly to express himself joyously and have a little fun! He had been in year-round training, mostly in dressage, and was at the end of a grueling mandatory training camp with the legendary Equestrian Master Jack LeGoff, who was a raging alcoholic. We needed a little fun! Our last dressage test had been good … but lackluster and uninspiring. I thought this might do the trick, and it did!