Ugh, I don't even want to write this post. I don't even want anything to do with ponies today. But I'm going to rip this off, not think any more about it, watch football all day, and start fresh on Monday.
On Wednesday, Bobby warmed up really well with a long and low trot and canter. He's getting a lot more confident in carrying himself. He's warming up with a soft, steady contact and a loose, forward, happy stride. It's a good foundation that we never tapped into last year in our dressage work. We went through the movements, got the scores and moved on, but it wasn't pleasant work for either of us. It's really starting to be, now.
We did run into some stickiness with turns on the forehand and leg yields tracking left.
I realized (fortunately pretty quickly) I was using too much seat and confusing him. I softened my aids and he stopped overreacting.
Our real work was over four canter poles. The very first time, he barged right through me and blew through the poles like they weren't there. I halted him immediately after and made him back a few steps. After that, it was just a matter of making sure I was riding every step and not letting him get away with it. He was fine after that.
He did land with a little buck to the left the first time through, but no change behind. He ended up swapping behind three times overall, but I took the time to trot and sort out the bend and regroup and he stopped doing it.
Friday, I set up four trot poles and four canter poles. He fumbled through the first trot pole, but once I woke up and gave him a half halt just before going in, he was perfect. Same thing through the canter poles. He was landing on the right lead coming through the canter poles through the left, which he also did once on Wednesday. To fix, I weighted my left rein and seat bone a little more. We finished with some sitting trot work.
Yesterday, I went up early to get in a ride before any lessons started. He was just coming in so I let him have a few mouthfuls of grain and then tacked him up. He usually comes in, eats, and then takes a nap so he was not happy. He was dead to my leg and just generally unpleasant. I set up two verticals that could be taken across the diagnol and a vertical to be taken down the centerline. Things very quickly spiraled into what's become the norm for our "jumping" sessions. Right now, we're exactly where we were this time last year with jumping--you know, where it took us six months to canter over a ground pole without major theatrics.
So I'm putting the brakes on jumping until the outdoor is useable again. The indoor is the size of a small dressage arena. My big, long, not particularly quick on his feet horse just can't cope with jumping in it. His horrible jumping is doing me no favors, which means I'm doing him no favors, and we just keep cycling through this misery. I don't even know what it feels like to just canter up to a jump and go over anymore.
I'll let him play in the jump chute every now and then. I'll set up ground poles to run through. I'll ride in my jump tack and do no stirrup work until I feel like my position is stable enough to deal with whatever Bobby throws at me. That will be our "jump school" days. We're going nowhere but backwards right now.
Also, I feel pretty confident saying something is going on in his back end yet again. I'll see if I can get the chiro out soon. If not, he'll just have to wait until his vet visit in early March. No more "jumping" should help out, too.