Last night was so incredible, I hardly know where to start. I guess chronological will have to do!
I convinced Lee to come out to the barn. I am trying out a new saddle and wanted to see if it would fit Lee too for the day when he would eventually ride. When I went to catch B out in the field, he whinnied and trotted up to the gate as soon as he saw me. Aw I love him too!
In our ride, Bentley was behaving particularly well, no trying to run off at the trot or steering difficulties. Ok maybe there was some running, but it was an easy correction and was happy to abide. We were able to do some large serpentines bending off my leg without breaking into the canter and he was very focused on my commands, very relaxed and well behaved. After several minutes of this, I decided it was ok to canter. He transitioned easily into a nice canter. Going down one side of the ring however, he would dig in and really push the speed limit I was trying to set.
Lee was concerned that I was pushing him too hard after his recovery, but he was the one pushing me! We probably did about a half mile of the speedy canter and I pulled him up after he got that calm canter I was looking for. He wasnt even panting and still itching to go on. We walked for a little bit, then continued trot work.
Again I decided to see what he would do over the little crossrails. Today he was being much more obedient and quiet, and instead of a real jump, did a tiny hop in the front and just trotted in the hind. Took him over a slightly larger crossrail and he was happy to turn it into a real jump. We did the crossrails a few more times then trotted over the 2′ vertical. Well, we refused the vertical a few times first, he was a little unsure. By the 3rd time, I was a little more persistent, and he wasn’t about to argue with me. Lee was (of course) typing away on his phone and didn’t get a picture 😦
Lee’s punishment for this was to get up and ride Bentley. The saddle fit him well, and he said it was really comfortable on his hips which is great to hear! He described it as “I feel as if I am riding a Cadillac” I had to correct him that a Bentley was much nicer than a Cadillac and he changed his mind. It was very short lived however. Bentley is a speedy walker and Lee mistook his fast walk and inability to stand still, for taking off. So Lee got all nervous, and Bentley could feel it, and got nervous in the process, making things worse! Still, Lee proudly shared the picture on his Twitter account… perhaps taking a bit too much credit for his 60 second ride haha.
I got back on Bentley and started to trot him again to burn off that extra energy and nerves he had built up. Did a few more jumps as well. He had been very good this time about coming back down to the trot within 6-10 strides after the jump. This time around, I decided to let him continue cantering into the small crossrails. We didn’t naturally find the distances and had a few awkward jumps, but they were so small, and he doesn’t try to over jump, so it wasnt so bad. He certainly was learning and that extra canter stride in between turned into him going back to trot before the jump and getting it correct. What a smart boy! Maybe I will have to dig out those gymnastics exercises that Amy Millar made for me (I won a contest last year) when I was planning on teaching Abby to jump.
Our scariest jump ended up being our best jump. A little 18″ oxer with an old Christmas tree underneath it. He refused it several times, until I decided to jump it backwards so we were jumping towards the barn, he paused only slightly to look at it, and gave a good effort over! Nicole and Patches were in the ring and commented about how cute he is, hes so expressive, it must have been adorable to watch his face through the whole thing.