Taking It Easy
|Someone's ready for CHRISTMAS!|
After moping around for a couple sad, rainy days, I headed back to the barn on Thursday afternoon with the goal of having a fun ride in mind.
I was considering a hack or gallop around the big fields, but after checking out how well the jump field had drained after a break from the rain, it looked like the footing was good enough to do a little jumping. I hadn't jumped since the Andrea Leatherman clinic, so we were definitely overdue to hop over some sticks!
Dino felt really good after two days off, and even with short stirrups and a jumping bat instead of a dressage whip, he was pretty easy to get off my leg. The first couple canter transitions were also obedient, if a little sticky. I'll take obedient over tantrums any day! And once Dino got rolling, he opened right up and we didn't have to argue about it at all.
I started out trotting Dino through some poles, and he immediately perked up when he realized that we were doing something other than flatwork! EuroPony apparently missed jumping.
After that, I popped him over a small vertical a couple times, working on riding forward and balancing him with my upper body instead of my hands. Dino was, of course, perfect.
I then aimed him at a 2'6 vertical, and Dino locked on and jumped with gusto, proceeding to land and race off into the sunset, careening up the hill and slipping on a muddy patch of ground. At that point, I had decided that maybe the footing was still a bit too wet for jumping, so I told Dino ONE MORE FENCE, and then we had to be done! I picked the skinny (aka a barrel on its side) on the more lush and grassy side of the field, since the footing was safest there. There were no guide poles on it, and I was a little worried that Dino would run out or I would fail him somehow in the steering department.
But, lo and behold, I widened my hands, put my leg on, and Wonder Pony jumped it flawlessly!
We ended the ride with a little flatwork - I dropped my stirrups and we trotted around and did some leg yields and walk/trot transitions, and Dino was just great. Soft, obedient, straight. I'm really starting to get a good feel for where his haunches are at all times, and am able to discern when the loss in connection is caused by his crookedness.
It ended up being just what we needed - an easy, fun schooling ride!