Opie's introduction to jumping thus far has been along the lines of: Here are some jumps. You are now a jump jump horse.
And Opie has been like: Okay!
|#childgenius after all|
I kept saying I was going to wait until winter to lay out a systematic training program to get him going around like a real horse over real courses. Except I'd get the itch to jump some things and never really had the time/ambition/desire to shear off a week or two of dressage work in the middle of show season to introduce ground poles and have them lead to grids and on and on.
This has worked out well enough. Dopes loves the jumping game, and is always keen and willing to hurl himself over whatever he's pointed at. I don't jump him high enough or technical enough that this lackadaisical approach has gotten us into trouble yet, and I certainly won't be moving him up any higher or more technical until he has a much firmer grasp of feet and self preservation.
|not a firm grasp of feet.|
I kept all of that firmly in mind when I took him out back to new-to-him cross country jumps on Sunday to push his current limits a little bit. He really stepped up to the plate for how little experience he has, while still reminding me that he is very, very green to anything but
One of the back pastures that usually has horses in it was open as it was resting after getting sprayed so we started off in there with short grass and flat ground. Right away Opie gave one of the log jumps the hairy eye and tried spooking at it. I made him circle around it multiple times before he sidled up to it, snooted it, and deemed it safe.
|the offending log that he popped over without issue. |
how cute are his happy horse ears?!
He warmed up really well and we popped over a vertical with one side dropped a couple times just so he knew what we were doing back there.
Then I figured I'd move on to the skinny log that we've jumped a few times in the past when the field has been open and we've wandered through on a cool out walk. He's never even thought about doing anything but hopping right over it, so I figured it would be a good next step since he hadn't jumped anything else back there.
He tried the same bullshit "I'm running out but also jumping but basically that just means I'm jumping the air." that he tried in the front field before. I brought him back to a slowww trot and really focused on channeling him straight between my legs and we got it although with much more drama than it warranted. From there we moved on to two hay bales stacked next to each other and he thought about trying the same thing, but I was quicker and more aggressive with my leg and caught him in time.
That's where my "He's a green horse." mantra stepped in and I calmly shrugged off the skinnies and put them aside for another day. No reason to get upset over them when straightness is still a struggle for us on the flat. On to easier things!
I could tell he felt a little bug-eyed after those jumps, but having inviting jumps like the straw bales and the big log that funneled him over the jump with the "standards" on either side gave him his confidence back and he quickly returned to locking on and landing raring to go.
We moved back to the next field and hopped over the two jumps back there. The grass was pretty long and Opie wasn't the most...most with the footing so once we made it over those out of the trot we quickly moved to a different field.
|all sorts of special over this teeny tiny jump|
The third field had Hubby's fancy skinny, a big log stack, and an open hog's back type jump which was the only one I was aiming for. It took us three attempts to get it right.
The first time he just ran right at and through it.
|don't be fooled, the whole jump is coming down after us.|
I made him do a little canter and really sit the fuck down and get his front end up. This being where that grid work and training to be a real jump jump horse would have come in handy. Sorry, Dopes. Quick lesson in not dying and off we go again.
The second time was better although he brought the top rail down with a front leg this time instead of his trailing hind end. The third and final time I made him slow it down even more and out loud chanted, "Lift! Lift! Lift!"
|yay, actually jumping!|
And by that time, too, I was able to stop him in a reasonable distance after the jump because he still very much lands and is like, "
We finished back in the front field doing a little course of the three easy jumps: straw to vertical to big log. Hubby only got the finish:
He was feeling himself at the end, which is good although I wish he'd feel himself a little less exuberantly two strides out. And check out that canter! That's just his casual, every day, my mom isn't choking me out to ensure I steer in a dressage court canter. Smol horse, Big canter.
|rly needs some grid life tho|
It felt good to be back in a jump saddle (even if it was only borrowed from a generous barn mate) and get a productive school in. He was so much more relaxed out back than he has been in the front where he gets turned out and is constantly searching for his BFFs. Now I've got grabby hands to get my own jump saddle again as show season wraps up and hunter pace season kicks off.
But first we gotta #dopiedoesdressage at a big show in a big atmosphere this weekend. Where there's a chance to win a fucking COOLER, bitches. So back to circles this week it is.
But maybe circles in the out of doors to make it a little more fun.