As I mentioned last post, Nay Nay and I are on our own for the next 3 weeks. Free to learn a lot or make a lot of mistakes. Only time will tell which path we chose…
Prior to my trainer leaving, I asked for homework. What do we need to work on? Or rather, what should we work on? The answer? Jumps. Getting over them. First time. Getting confident.
See, remember back to that unfortunate incident of the brown boxes? That might have wrecked my confidence a bit… I’m not sure if it did anything to Nay, but me? Maybe… Since then Nay has been pretty good and has learned a LOT.
We’ve added spurs and he’s learned that when I add spur he is to go FORWARD. So, if I add them before the jump? He needs to go forward OVER the jump. For the most part, this works. But, sometimes? We die. The thing is, Nay isn’t being bad. His rider is being indecisive and NOT adding spur/leg and as a result, NOT telling him forward. Nay he then left to decide on his own, do I go left? do I go right? do I stop? do I go forward? While he CAN walk over everything, he generally doesn’t because he’s convinced he can’t because his rider is convinced he can’t and it’s a bad combo. If I’m not confident, he’s not confident… And, after one skirt around, time 2 is harder.
So, at the end of our last lesson, my trainer basically told me, I need to get over this first jump thing and fix it now before it is an issue. That’s my job for the next 3 weeks. I can set up as many small fences as I want and just repeat. He can walk**, he can trot, he can canter, but he needs to go forward before I ruin* him (*my word). ** he can supposedly walk over ANYTHING in the ring, barrels included, I disagree so we’re not trying that! LOL
Saturday it was FREEZING. Literally. But, I dragged Nay’s sorry butt out and we rode. I set up a couple of tiny fences. A single, a pole to flower boxes and decided that was good. We started off walking over everything because why not? They were tiny and Nay was stiff from the cold so it made our warm-up more interesting. Needless to say, he didn’t care. We had a lovely trot and worked over the pole and then a trailer pulled up next to the indoor right as we were about to canter bringing back a horse. In the past? Nay would be gone mentally. And while he was distracted and our left lead canter wasn’t great, I didn’t lose him. But the right lead? Best right lead canter EVER. We even had a nice circle at the canter! Seriously! Then we started our jump practice and had zero issues. We jumped everything both ways, added leg at the base (whether needed or not), and called it a day.
Sunday things warmed up some so we were back out to try it again. Nay was less than thrilled (I interrupted his morning snooze), but tough luck. He fell back to sleep in the cross ties as I decided to have a long chat but we quickly got to work in the ring where I decided to tackle my demons.
Instead of sticking to a pole and flowers, I decided we’d tackle the scary brown boxes we struggled with so much that fateful lesson. I removed the gate, but we WERE going to jump it! The single was set to a small vertical with flowers and kept it that way and I left the flower boxes as flower boxes (no pole) after the brown boxes.
Like the day before, we warmed up with a nice trot where Nay had no energy. That said, energy finally came out at the canter where he let me know his displeasure at being asked to work. Once again, our left lead sucked, but eventually, he settled into a decent enough (though very forward) left lead canter and cantered a nice enough circle. But the right lead? Once again? AMAZING. Last lesson I was told to shake my reins at him approaching the first corner to get him to keep the canter. Who the hell knows why, but ever since doing this, his right lead canter has been strong and consistent. We can hold the canter, canter circles, and his balance is improving each time out. His canter circle was super balanced too. SO PROUD!
We trotted over the small vertical once to warm up and it was super easy. The headed up to the boxes…
We casually looked at the boxes because I needed to… This wasn’t part of my homework, I admit it… But, we did it without approaching it if it makes sense? We came at it from the plain side. So, maybe we jumped it backwards, but whatever, I had a ground line, but first time up to it, he was gunning to go up and over. I added spur and without hesitation? Up and over. Next time, we WILL do it without looking at it first. We continued to the flowers and cantered out of those where he got so much praise. We repeated a few times before he got a bit lazy and almost took out one of the boxes…
Next, we did the vertical around to the in of the outside line which was a small verticle/plank. That wasn’t an issue but Nay didn’t find that one very exciting either (and barely saw a need to pick up his feet). After one more trip over his brown box line, we called it a day.
Sunday’s ride also was the first ride that didn’t include any screaming from Nay!