In our ride on Wednesday, I decided to try some jumping because 1) the jumps were up from the previous nights lessons and beckoning us and 2) I am guessing we will be jumping in our lesson tonight (Friday) and since we hadn’t jumped since probably oh… November ish? We should practice before setting back the other riders in our class.
We rode in our endurance saddle, but that is never a problem for us, we jump just fine in it.
The jumps were laid out like this:
After a good 10 minute of the very large working trot (he must have been excited when he saw the jumps too) we popped over the small X. Oh boy was he ever happy, but he wasnt too pleased when I circled him away from the oxer. I had to remind him that we had to warm up a few more times over the crossrail, and if he was good we can try the bigger ones (The oxer was set to about 2’6″ and the larger of the 2 verticals was about 2’9″ based on my best guess… pretty big for us, but that’s likely what we will have to do in our lesson, so we can try!) Of course, he obliged and jumped the crossrail a few more times lovely, and obeyed my leg yields despite the looming oxer in front of us.
He was very good, so I allowed the oxer. We didnt get the distance, and put in a half stride to a deer jump over it, but I stayed on and applauded his enthusiasm. I greatly wished I had shorter stirrups at that point, or at least was in my saddle I could adjust without dismounting. Oh well. Several more deer hops where not only did he jump high, but I jumped even higher… yes… I do wear my stirrups way too long. Sorry Bentley! I promise I will shorten them for our lesson. Ok, down to business though, I really worked at adjusting our pace and stride and after a few tries we got the line just fine. From there, we jumped the big airy vertical heading toward the back of the arena, swooped around, and jumped the other vertical. He was having so much fun! He started to get pretty antsy pants, and cutting the corner before the small x, and several times we jumped the edges, but he didnt seem to mind that we didnt take the easy option in the centre, fortunately he would let me straighten him out before the oxer.
After taking some time to settle him down and practice the excitement corner, I upped the challenge factor a bit. We rode the course as follows: x to oxer, roll back to big vertical broken line to the X (opposite direction from before) roll back to smaller vertical, short broken line to oxer. We tried it what I am going to call “eventer style” and jumped on angles, but it still required a small quick turn. He did wonderfully!
After that, we settled down to work on some lateral movement. Nose to the wall… ask to move sideways. Boy was he ever confused, this is the first time I asked this of him. Most of the time he did some beautiful backing up or would try to make a very tight turn against the wall (catching my boot on the hanging standards and once spooking from my foot crash) but we did finally end with some sideways steps for which he was rewarded greatly!
We decided to finish off with a 10 minute trot on the buckle, he was very relaxed, head hanging and trotting along slowly like a western pleasure horse. But wait, the jumps are still set up! Each time we passed the crossrail, he would drift towards it (we were going away from the oxer at this point) Kirsten was in the arena at this point and I had previously told her about how he likes to take me over jumps when given his freedom. So one trip around I stopped giving him the leg back to the rail and he proved the stories, wandering right over at the casual trot and popping over it lazily. I said, “where do you want to go now?” and he circled around, came between the crossrail and vertical, and headed directly for the oxer (at the same lazy trot) I was able to catch him just in time. Not a good idea Bentley, we need a little more speed for that one, and I am totally not ready to do reinless jumping! Silly horse.
Looks like we may be ready to jump tonight!