I had written an entire post yesterday only to have Blogger send it into a black hole. Thanks, Blogger. Thanks for nothing!
Yesterday Hubby and I set a new jump course up in the outdoor. Two sets of lines--2'6 vertical four strides to a 2'9 oxer, and 3' tires four strides to a 2'6 vertical--a big X, a 2'6 vertical on a diagnol, and the gate at 2'6.
I warmed him up over the X and the gate first. It became instantly apparent what I was going to have to work on the whole ride: me! Because that's something new, right? Bobby jumped the X the first several times from right on top of of it, as per usual. "I must not be going forward enough," I think. "I have the solution: run Bobby really fast at the jump!" Obviously that failed. So I exchanged my Dunce Cap for my Critical Thinking Cap and, you know, actually rode actively. Sure he needs to go more forward, but he also needs to be balanced. I half halted before the turn and he hopped right over. Amazing how that works.
The gate was another instance where the quick fix was simply riding actively and thinking about how Bobby needed to be set up. The first time over he got suprised by the turn and did the above twisty leap where I clearly did a really good jump helping him (coughnotcough). I did it twice more with normal results, neither of which Hubby got a picture of because he was trying to wrangle the naughty dogs.
We did the green vertical a couple times with no issues as there was a longer approach to it so I had a few more strides to get my shiz together. For the final single warm up fence I cut inside the tire line and did just the tires. Another long approach so another smooth couple of jumping efforts. I feel a little ridiculous getting him to land on the correct lead over a jump, but he is landing on the lead I want so I don't mind looking like a moron for now. Also, 3' is really starting to feel like nothing, especially when I ride...not like a complete fool.
I moved on to the tire line, trying it first from the right and coming up to the tires to the vertical. It was a tight, tight turn to get to the tires and while Bobby did go over I didn't feel like it was a fair turn for him so I came down to the vertical to the tires instead from there on out.
Well, that game plan didn't go very smoothly. I couldn't find my line to save my friggin' life which wasn't a bad thing because Bobby landed from the vertical and yanked the reins out of my hands repeatedly. I don't know what got up his fanny, but he was all, "We're jumpingggg! YANK." I finally sat him right down on his rumpus on landing. That woke him up and he was quite polite from there on out.
The next monster to tackle was the vertical to oxer line. As proven by every grid I've jumped, I suck at finding my spot when coming into a jump off a short distance from the rail. Again, once I balanced him before I turned, he jumped better.
It was still not very good though. Lines are my big downfall right now. Probably because I suck at riding them:
But! That's just something to put on the list to work on, and I love having things to conquer and cross off. Riding a line will just be another one of them. The good part of the whole ride was that I'm starting to feel like Bobby and I are becoming a team. I still kind of feel like I'm trying to pass off Red's goals onto him, but instead of it overwhelming him like I was this spring, he's stepping up to the plate. That's probably not a very good reason to "like" him more, but as he's getting better I'm starting to appreciate his own style and personality instead of comparing everything he does to Red.
We finished off with the tire line. Hubby raised the vertical to 3' as well and Bobby skipped right through it. He made the turn well (I had revised my turn-off spot by about three lengths so I was actually coming in from a good angle), landed lightly looking at the next jump, took me to the tires quickly but easily and went right over, landing on the left lead and cantering easily off. Good pony face.
His form might not look fabulous, but keep in mind he's only started jumping real jumps on a regular schedule this year. He's starting to feel like the bigger the jumps get, the easier they are for him. That is, once I ride like an attentive rider instead of a cracked out goldfish. Better put that one on the list of things to conquer, too....