Everything started out as cross rails, albeit great big cross rails. I still need something easy to warm up over, and I thought it was a good compromise for Bobby.
After warming up over jumps individually without issue, I put together a little course: Tracking left down the two stride line. Continue around to the red X, and turn right on landing. Down to the orange X, all the way back around out of the corner back to the red X landing on the right lead. Finish with the two stride line going up.
The first line was fine, but he kept getting faster and flatter as we went. It's hard with big horses (and you big horse riders know what I'm talking about) to stay forward and collected without crossing over to fast and strung out. That's hard for me to do while also making sure I'm actually going faster than a crawl, and keeping my heels down, and not pulling on the reins, and releasing over the fences, and trying to keep my legs out of my ass, and not slouching.
Dudes, riding horses is so hard.
If I transferred my issues with myself into how they were causing Bobby problems, I was able to keep my brain focused better. My shoulders are slouching and I'm tipping forward? Bobby is falling on the forehand. So get Bobby off the forehand. How? By lifting my shoulders and hands. Tah dah! No longer tipping!
Does that make sense? Probably only to me.
I raised the two stride line from cross rails to a 2'6" vertical and oxer and started over. The course went better even with just two jumps raised to the beginning of Bobby's lowest acceptable height. However, I still wasn't really nailing that line.
Enter my mental battle with Hubby.
Me: Ugh, I just can't get it together. He's landing so unbalanced and I'm just popping up like an idiot.
Hubby: Well you're not folding your upper body or really releasing.
Me: Listen, Hubby. Sometimes you have to go on instinct and what's going to get you though the jumps. It's not always going to look pretty.
Hubby: He's going to get to the jumps better if you ride better, and then you can look better.
Me: FINE. Oh, hey. He came to that first jump so well that it made the second jump better. I just wish he wouldn't land on the wrong lead and be all crooked and counter bent.
Hubby: Are you telling him with your body what lead you want him to land on? No? Then how does he know what you want?
Me: I see where you're going with this.
It was like magic after that. You know, after I started really riding. I finished up after course work going through the line itself a few times each way and he was so good. He really is growing up this year. Hopefully it doesn't all disappear when show season starts.
I finished the day braiding his mane over and doing his front feet. He's so fucking sound on them it just makes me want to break out into dance.