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Lisa's Blog post # 18
We’re doing it!! Cotton and I are jumping all by ourselves!
After the amazing breakthrough we had this past week, we have been jumping up a storm – we spent the day after our lesson going over the same trot pole set up. The next day we did it again but without the closely spaced trot poles. Today we only warmed up over that jump twice each direction then moved to the arena where we went over a variety of very small jumps – the highest was only 2’3”.
I can tell Cotton is eating this up – usually by the end of a 6 day work week on the flat the grass is much more interesting than my apple but after spending every day this week jumping he came right to me like he hadn’t seen me in a week!
But the really good news is that I am beginning to feel what happens when we jump. Things are slowing down. I can feel the difference between when he remains balanced those last 2 strides and when he throws himself at the jump. When he takes off with his hind end under him the quality of his canter on the other side is much better too - and he’s easier to control. We are both approaching the jumps much more relaxed!
The only glitch we had today was going over this two foot blue jump. The first time we took it his back feet hit the rail. The next time we did it he jumped me out of the tack! I nearly came off. That must have upset him because the third time he threw himself at it the last 2 strides. OK, this time I was NOT stupid - recognizing that things were deteriorating, I took him out to the baby jump we warmed up over. He did that perfectly the first time so we returned to the arena and continued. I didn’t take the blue one again, however, because it now had some emotional baggage attached to it and I wanted to have a successful day – Lesley can help us figure that out next lesson. We did about a handful more jumps, ending on the highest of the day, and our hour was up.
Lesley said he will never be a hunter – he’s a show jumper! He will always “pat the ground” that last stride and switch leads and rush a little. That’s completely fine with me – I just need to learn how to ride that! I’ve always been on hunter types that just tick along and I need to learn how to handle this new jumping style. Lesley’s strategy is helping. By forcing us to slow things down I can start from scratch and learn how to ride him over the jumps and not just sit there and steer! Cotton isn’t the kind of horse you can just sit on. She keeps saying it will be a lot easier as we raise the jumps so I hope this stage will go quickly!
I don’t know what the next step is – do I begin cantering these small jumps or trotting normal jumps? Now that I am beginning to feel what’s going on I’d like to learn how to influence him so he gets a quality jump every time, rather than have to just take what I get. I also want to learn how to stick with him like glue over every fence no matter what he does – I’m tired of jumping ahead of him and getting left behind! I also really need to work on his canter after the jump. He dive bombs onto his forehand after his jumps and we have to regroup before we’re ready for the next one – that’s not good. I think part of it is to just hold the reins tighter so he can’t pull them out of my hand when he bucks and does his little hops.
The to-do list is still pretty long and it will be awhile before I’ll be ready for an event but my new, relaxed attitude is helping both of us! We’re becoming a team!
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