Okay, this post isn’t really going to be about the history of oxers. It’s actually going to be about my history with jumping oxers – just like I said in my post yesterday. But, since all of you history-buffs out there probably only clicked onto this blog to read about the history of the oxer, I will give you a brief overview.
Oxen are big, strong animals, and they need to have big, strong, double fences in between their paddocks to keep them from breaking through. Since an oxer is a “double jump,” whoever had the job of naming the jumps decided to name it after those ox-fences. (Was that brief enough?) And if any of you history-buffs out there have any more information about that, feel free to leave it in a comment at the bottom of this post!
So, like I said, this is a story about the first time I jumped over an oxer. I was already 4 years old and living at my second barn in New York. (That’s the barn where my friend Cooper lived; remind me to tell you the story of how I actually got to that barn! It’s another good one!) My Mommy had a job teaching lessons at another stable nearby, and at that stable she made a friend. Her friend also taught lessons, and he wanted to meet me. So he came to my new barn one day to watch me work, and because he saw how amazing I was, he really wanted to have a small role in my training. When my Mommy told him that we were going to jump an oxer for the first time, he decided to set up a one-stride line – a small vertical and then one stride to the oxer – to help me figure out where to take off from. You see, when you jump an oxer, the take-off point is a little different than when you jump a vertical, because the oxer is wider than a normal jump. Anyway, this friend of my Mommy’s was really excited by how awesome I was, so he kept raising the oxer a little at a time… and, as it turned out, the first time I jumped an oxer was also the first time I ever jumped 3 feet high!
Now, you know my Mommy and her rules, right? So you can guess that she was a little worried about me jumping so high when I was only 4 years old, because I wasn’t completely full grown yet. Well, she gave me a tingly liniment bath afterward and – of course – wrapped my legs in pillow wraps, too. She was worried that I might be a little sore… but I wasn’t! Jumping that oxer was nothing to me!
We kept up with our schedule of only jumping once every couple weeks, and a couple months later, my Mommy decided that it would be okay for me to jump another 3-foot-tall oxer. But she wanted to make it a little more interesting, so she laid a tarp underneath it… and spread the oxer out until it was 4 feet wide! That oxer was actually a triple-oxer, with three jumps put together instead of two. It was so much fun, a “piece of cake!” But it was a huge accomplishment for me at that age.
Over the years, the oxers have just gotten bigger…
…and the spreads just keep getting wider!
One day, when I’m a Grand Prix jumper, I’ll be jumping oxers that are 5 feet and 3 inches high with a 6 and a half foot spread! My Mommy said that I’m not quite ready for that yet… but she’s totally wrong, I know I could do it. I mean, I can do anything. Everybody knows that! After all, I am The Flight of Icarus, and I can fly as close to the sun as I want!
Well, I had a relaxing day off today. I grazed with my best friend, Leo, and we ran around a little in the paddock. I even had a chance to take a nap, although the sun didn’t come out at all today and it was pretty cold. I like napping in the sun much more than I like napping in the cold!
Anyway, I have some big dreams to dream tonight, so I’d better get to it. I’ll be dreaming about those 5’3″ Grand Prix oxers… What will you be dreaming about tonight? Whatever it is, I hope it comes true!