My jumps are scattered around the arena right now, left over from when Amy came to do a clinic (which was Thanksgiving, if you're counting). I had three set up in a decent pattern to run a little course and I put them up to a wide 2'9" oxer, a 2'6" vertical headed downhill and then a 3' vertical on the edge of the arena headed out into space.
I jumped Brandy and had a great time, did Ari later in the day and Gracie, too!
Unfortunately, with warm weather comes the frustration of the steps backward you've taken over the winter.
Brandy was hot and didn't much want to listen to me. She settled down as the school went on, but she wasn't very focused and didn't want to re-balance until a stride away. Her dressage has gotten better this winter, so its not all lost, but still frustrating.
Arizona is back to head flinging again. He jumped around fairly well, but I don't have much for rhythm. I think its all stemming back to the balance- I can't quite get him uphill enough. He is VERY resistant to contact right now, I can't really get him in my hand- he just gets mad when I try to push the issue. He's lost a lot of the suppleness I had at the canter a couple weeks ago, so when I try to half-halt and re-balance him, he has no where to go since he's too tight through his neck, so he just flips his head instead. I've been trying to address the canter issues over the last few weeks, but I haven't had much luck. He's also landing and pulling immediately against me- this is an old habit that was resolving itself as of our last lesson with Amy. I tried a couple things to combat all of this while I was riding today- I added leg, added leg, added leg and added MORE leg. I tried the "we're going-we're not-we're going-we're not" trick, but he was not responsive to that. I felt as though I was lifting through my core and had my shoulders back, but I'm sure it wasn't enough. I'm hoping that a lot of this is just lack of fitness on both our parts, but I'm hoping to talk to Amy before she goes away and see if she has any hints for me since I won't get to have another lesson for probably two weeks.
Gracie was... well... Gracie. She is such a trooper as far as getting things done. She is honest as the day is long and will pretty much get me out of any situation I put us in. Or she puts us in. She often has to figure her way out of a trouble spot that her snot-nosed-self has put us in. Her flat work is not nearly as nice as it was- again, I'm hoping this is lack of fitness for both of us. She is just kind of cranky about everything. He canter transitions are improving with the idea of "just add canter" that we learned about at the clinic.
The last time I jumped her I had a small grid set up- just a placement pole on the front and back side of a low vertical. Gracie cantered in and as she stepped over the first pole, busted through my hands and launched the little vertical- landing on the OTHER side of the landing-side placement pole... long jump, anyone?
Anyway- today in that same spot was a 2'9" oxer. Wide. Gracie left the ground a STRIDE early and jumped it. I was sittin' chilly, waiting for that last stride and I KNOW she could have fit it, but she just launched. Cute. And then she did it AGAIN. The third time I got her, though, and she added and we quit with that.
The GOOD news about today is that all three horses had one fence that they would have liked to run out at. I had a split second each time where my stream of consciousness went something like "ohcrapwhatiftheyrunoutandifalloffshutupandcloseyourlegthey'regoing!" before I just closed my leg and sat in the middle and all three jumped without fail.
The others I rode today all get a gold star, as well. Sam gets two, maybe. He was lovely at the canter, both leads and then he jumped around a little course at 2', landing on the correct lead each time and loping off like a hunter. Awe inspiring, really.
Audrey, the connemara/arab mare who has a heck of a motor trotted around on a loose rein with a long, low frame and I had to stay after her with my leg the whole time! Progress!
Vanna (the marshmallow) tried to pull a little pony-tude with me but quickly decided that was not in her best interest. She trotted around quietly both directions and is starting to move off a leg a little bit. She is not very respectful of the bridle right now, so that is the lesson for next week. I rode her in the arena though, in an English saddle and she was not a problem at all, so that is a nice start!
We have a busy day tomorrow with the vet coming and with the nice weather, we should be swamped!