Mardi Part 3: The cob with the Bentley engine!

The last part of Jay Johnson’s visit to help me with Mardi

Day three dawned and it was my turn to get straight on to Mardi. She was feeling fresh but not crazily so as she had done two days of very hard work. Before I got on Jay again went through exactly how I was going to ride her. His instruction were once again calm and precise.

What can I say! The day was a success. Mardi’s next form of evasion, now that she understood that bucking me off was not an option, was to nap – especially going into canter. Jay was super calm about it all and told me that no matter how many times I had to do a circle or ask for a transition – never to get impatient with her and if I needed to do 10 circles then so be it! The most important thing with a horse that reacts like she does ie to fight back is to stay ultra chilled but at the same time, stay awake.

Mardi is chilled at the end of day Three with Jay.

We ended up jumping a small course which was great and although I felt that Mardi still harboured dreams of hitting the launch button, Jay kept us on the right track and the day finished on a high.

Day four and we headed off to my local show centre – the fantastic facility of Howe Country Centre where I had booked a course of fences.

Day four and we headed off to my local show centre – the fantastic facility of Howe Country Centre where I had booked a course of fences.

Day Four with Mardi – I am getting her attention here.

Previously I hadn’t even bothered taking Mardi anywhere, not even for a lesson as she was so switched off and unpredictable. Jay got on first – rode her around the unfamiliar arena. This is a brave mare and I was thrilled to see her jump around with no hassle. No spooking, no ifs, buts or bucking.

Then I was on – ok the fences were tiny but the point is that I felt fully confident that Mardi was popping around happily. It was fantastic and I could feel that she inside her is a cracking, talented showjumper. If you had told me on day one that day four would see me jumping this horse and not wanting to get off I would have laughed at you.

Mardi and I at our first proper showjumping show – she was brilliant

So to finish with a few words about Jay – people all have their own opinion. Many have never met him – they see his social media posts with all the ‘Ya-Ya ride the pony’ stuff and think he is some sort of cowboy. He isn’t, he is an ace jockey and proper horseman. He works with some very difficult, dangerous horses who are much more challenging than my mare and he is many times, the end of the line for them. Not everyone can afford to keep an unrideable horse so many would otherwise be put down. At no point when Jay rode my mare did he hassle her. He allowed her to exhibit her bad behaviour – he needed to do that to see just what he was there to help me with, then he got inside her head. It was interesting to see that when her behaviour was bad he became ultra-relaxed, where a lesser jockey – myself included – would become tense, somehow Jay gets more chilled!

His theory with my mare is that people have looked at her and thought she was an earthbound cob, perhaps she was enthusiastic over a few fences when she was younger (she has a great backend), perhaps she bucked for fun or because her big engine pushed her off balance. Whatever it was, she must have been smacked and her fiery temper had made her fight back. Who knows? But as Jay pointed out there is a Bentley engine in there!

Jay will tell you honestly if you and the horse are not going to work as a team. Or that your horse is simply too dangerous to ever be ridden. I love that he has saved so many horses from death and has allowed them to lead productive, happy ridden lives. Yes, many horses exhibit bad behaviour due to pain, (I had my mare x-rayed, scanned and thoroughly vet checked for pain before I went down the Jay Johnson route), but some horses are just a product of terrible riding.

As for Mardi – what of her now? I am literally about to register her BS at the start of 2020. She has been out and about with me having fun. We have been for lessons, jumped at training shows and some unaffiliated shows. She was a complete star at the spookiest Christmas show I have ever seen lol, (think blow up elves and sparkly Christmas trees). She is getting the hang of being forward and is a lovely horse now to hack.

Using Jay was the best idea I have had in a long time. I am looking forward to him coming back to break in a couple of my young horses later this summer. It will be good to work with him again.

If you are having trouble with a difficult horse and pain has been ruled out then I highly recommend giving Jay Johnson a call.

Jay Johnson jumps Mardi around first on transformation day four!
Then it is my turn!

Head to Part one or Part two of this story here.

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