What is the biggest fence you have jumped?
Trainer Frank Madden and Maria Schaub. Photo by Nancy Jaffer, ©2006.
The biggest fence I have jumped was a six-foot tall oxer.
When I was thirteen years old at the Lake Placid Horse Show, I rode a horse named Cornetto. He was eighteen-hands and had previously been showing at the grand prix derby height, but was not quite careful enough to be the winner. He was sent to Frank to sell as an equitation horse and I was lucky enough to ride him for several months.
While having a lesson one Tuesday afternoon, repeatedly, I approached the jump slowly and without pace. Frank being well aware that Cornetto had the ability to clear such a height, raised the fence higher and higher and said, “I’m just going to keep raising the jump until you stop pulling.”
Let us just say his technique worked! I was not going to come at a six-foot tall oxer without any pace! He made a very good point that I will never forget. To this day, we love to look back and get a good laugh when we think about the lesson and how it influenced my riding.