Jumping Shenanigans

Well, it certainly feels like we have been doing all the jumping recently. We haven't really, it's just more interesting to write abut than we trotted endless circles, had a crack at shoulder in and travers, went for a ride in the bush, were generally lazy!

Saturday I got to have 2 lessons with Jonna, both jumping. I went really back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to jump Coolie, because a flat lesson would benefit us equally and you can never do enough flat work. I decided to jump though because it's the end of the year and fuck it, I'm going to do what I love to do the most! (although practicing half pass is also REALLY FUN. I know, I am actually insane).

We arrived, I stuck Henry in a paddock to socialise with two other dark bay horses so he could blend in, and got Coolie ready. Warming up he was so spooky, because it's Coolie who is in 'holiday work'. Everything was scary, which pretty much set the tone for the lesson.

I caught Jonna up with our latest stuff and right off the bat he gave me homework... I have to practice asking walk to canter on a straight line without flexion, just the leg aid to gauge Coolies understanding of the aid. This will help with our flying changes.

We trotted a cross rail, landing on the correct lead each time, then cantered a 4 stride line from the cross rail to a little skinny upright that Coolie has done before. Except Coolie promptly forgot he is gown up, educated horse, instead trying to make us believe he had NEVER seen ANYTHING like it in his life. I let him sniff it, then represented, and he jumped it with extra effort because it might eat him. We smoothed it our before moving on.

There was a magpie in the arena sunbathing in the sand. It was flat out looking like it was dead. Every time we trotted past it would suddenly leap up and move, spooking Coolie. It was HILARIOUS and the maggie refused to be put out by us riding past him. Silly bird.

Next up I trotted Coolie to a bounce. He has seen bounces before a billion times. Except he forgot that yesterday and once again sopped he first time. I rolled my eyes, Jonna adjusted it to make it easier and we went through just fine after that. Coolie was feeling so happy and kept celebrating his big efforts after landing. We laughed at him and Jonna told me that he was preparing me for when I had children.

We strung a little course together looking for relaxation and self carriage as always. This was hard to come by because someone was feeling very silly, but after reminding him about the half halt by doing a full halt, we got it. It wasn't a hugely ground breaking lesson, we didn't do anything really new because SOMEONE was too busy pretending to forget he is nearly SIXTEEN.

I think we both had fun though and it's so good to feel Coolie enjoying himself. He does make me laugh and he keeps things from getting too serious.

Henry came out feeling tense and fresh. I haven't taken the boys somewhere together for a while and I think it was making Henry distracted. He settled after a few minutes though and we worked on lengthening his neck and his stride. We trotted over a cross rail toward the skinny jump and made sure everything was calm and easy. We did it a few times, and  then added in the skinny jump. Henry was wobbly on the approach but he jumped it, with a bit extra. He got a bit worried on landing, so when we came around again I made sure to halt him quicker after the jump.

We spent some time working on getting him calm and steady over the jumps before we moved on. It didn't take very many repetitions, only 4 or 5 with a few walk breaks to help him process.

We trotted into the bounce next, and he put extra effort into the second jump, so we came around again and he was a little quieter about it. We did it off the other rein too, and then continued on to the cross rail and the skinny. We had to halt after a few of the jumps when he got a bit fast but for the most part things went well. We had to halt before the bounce too because he was running towards it but after a few tune ups we smoothed it all out.

From there Jonna really challenged us and had us come down the related line over the two biggest oxers Henry has ever done. Because I am a pansy I made Jonna adjusted them to look nice and inviting. I'm not worried about Henry stopping, I am more worried about staying with Henry when he jumps so big over them. I am getting better at staying with him but I still get jumped out of the tack on the regular. Athletic horse problems!

Really I shouldn't have worried because he was pretty calm, straight and made it feel easy. We did it a few more times, having to revisit the half halt but he was quite responsive to my small changes and the fences kept coming up well. Jonna put the jumps up and once again Henry showed me there was nothing to worry about.

We put the cross rail up to an upright at about 75 cm, and he popped it and was dead straight to the skinny. We kept the canter and came down the related line. Henry was great! I was so thrilled with him, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face and Jonna was like.. now you're in love with him!

All in all we had 2 very successful lessons, we all had a lot of fun. I love my boys!


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