Well, most days.
Or on that particular day.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my last riding post, I've been focusing a lot more on jumping with Bobby because it's something he really likes which means it doesn't bring about random bursts of anxiety driven temper tantrums. That's a win in my book.
Jumping days are split into two different categories: grids or course work. Since one of my main goals this year is to get Bobby jumping straight down the middle of the fence, even our course work gets catered to that.
So. What have we been doing? Sounds like a good time for Paint Skillz!
The trot poles were tricky as our arena is very long but not very wide, and the turn into them was pretty tight. Bobby likes to suck back before entering a maze of ground poles, so getting him to carry enough momentum through the turn and into the poles proved tricky. We worked over the single canter pole several times because it's important to be able to canter a single pole without leaping it like it's a Grand Prix jump. Once we got some control there, we did the one stride multiple times. I ended up using a pole on the ground to the right in front of each jump because that right drift was working hard. The guiding poles worked great though.
random trot page break
We also worked on a set of three bounces. Bobby was a tool that day and wanted to fling himself into the bounces before spazzing out that he was then in the middle of bouncing and had gotten himself in trouble by flinging himself into a line of bounces. Well, duh, son. I had to take a long w/t break to get my mind back in a good place because I was very, very close to bawling my eyes out during this ride. Eventually though, I got him under control and he was able to jump through like a normal horse both directions because listening.
More grid work before a course work recap? Well okay then!
We did this grid over the weekend. Bobby's never jumped with poles winged into a V before, so I started off with them pretty wide. He ended up not bothered by them at all, except, you know, they kept him super straight all the way through. Yay! The real problem he had was focusing on his feet for the two trot poles before having to pick up the canter for the bounce which also involved brain cells. It was definitely a full brain work out for poor Bobby, and I kept the two oxers low so we could do lots of repetitions through it...which means I have all sorts of different media for one grid!
Okay, I didn't say they were high quality videos.
And finally, one more "grid" day--yesterday!
We did the warm up exercise from this Grid Pro Quo with Boyd Martin. I set the 15' distance with two poles on cavaletti blocks, and set up five 5' wide trot poles down the middle of the ring. I'm guilty of letting Bobby plod a bit while warming up before jump work, but I really got after him to get going right off that bat yesterday morning, and as a result he was able to power through the trot poles like a total pro. That was a big win as it directly correlates to flat work...but no one tell Bobby that!
For the two poles, we started off doing the one stride first. That was pretty easy as Bobby is now pretty easy to package up at the canter. I honestly wasn't even sure how a bounce stride was possible for 15', but we came around at a fucking solid clip and went for it. I had to really leg Bobby on in-air over the first pole, but hot damn, we did it. I brought him around again to do the one stride, and he was like, "FUCK YEAH, RACE AT THE JUMPS!!! BEST IDEA EVERRRRR!!" So I halted him between the two poles which was a feat in and of itself. It got his brain back in tune though, and we were able to do the one stride again upon re-approach.
From the other direction, he also got the one stride fine, and then we galloped up to it and still barely got the bounce distance in. Really, Boyd. I'd like to see this one on video for proof of "ease". He came right back for the one stride again, and we finished the ride working on really opening up the canter and bringing it right back down again. That's right, extra flat work at the end of a long ride with no tantrums. Because jump tack and jump exercises. Suck it, Bobby.
For course work, this is what we last worked on. He was great for the singles--almost all our poles are striped, so I made sure we hit the middle stripe each time--and I was feeling like I was on point with my riding. Sitting tall, shoulders back, leg on, and holding my reins steadily and low--you know, not chucking them at his face three strides out before flinging them up in the air and grabbing him in the mouth as he takes off. Say whaaaat.
The first time through the bending line, I completely stopped riding the second we landed from the first jump. I tipped his nose in the general direction of the second jump and he went, but it was fast and sloppy, and I was sloppy in the air. I gave myself a mental slap and made sure I sat the fuck up on landing and rode all the way up to the second jump.
I plan to start putting fences up to height (3'3"-3'6") this week as the weather finally warms back up enough that it's not too cold to breathe. Gotta love the limiting factors of living on the East Coast.