|Cuna has approved this blog|
I think it actually took less pleading and manipulating than last time to get some decent candid shots. Maybe Cuna did want a less-emotional less-photo-obsessed boy, but as long as his girl feeds him lots of cookies, he'll cope.
Ellie caught us at an incredibly opportune time--since coming back from Utah, we'd launched into a two week jumping intensive. That kind daily consistency really helps Cuna maintain some flexibility through his whole body.
|The ever stylish "pony nose" pose|
We start out on a reasonably long rein. After 5-10 minutes walking (need to let the old man limber up), we move into the trot. This is when the warm up starts to differentiate based on the workout I have planned. If we're jumping or doing some dressage figures, I keep a light contact and work on engaging his hind end through small circles and changes of bend.
If we're doing a recovery day after a hard workout (hills or jumping lesson), we stay on big, sweeping turns and focus on a steady rhythm and lots of stretching.
At first, I don't pick up much contact--I want the emphasis on going forward in balance. We roll into the canter and let him clear his lungs while I stay off his back.
We do a couple of simple changes to make sure all his legs are stretched out and then we go forward and back a few times to make sure all the buttons are working.
|Ok, First jump. We'll get there.|
Then it's time to start jumping. I like to pick a single vertical with a short approach and a long backside. That forces me to spend more time worrying about the line after the jump than before. My current rule for myself is to never actually look -at- a jump. I look at the line behind it.
I am working towards being competent and supportive all the time, but let's face it: I'm new at this (jumping well). We generally puke over the first one or two and then I get myself sorted out. Hands in mane? Check. Leg on? Check. Eyes up? Check. Ride the line. Let Cuna do his job.
|Not the highest jump, but I love our expressions|
In addition to my new found focus on the backside of the jump, I am now jumping primarily at 2' and above. While I'm perfectly happy to piddle over crossrails, Cuna tends to trip on them. He really jumps best around 2'6" and up. Maybe I'll even conquer my weird oxer phobia. At the rate we're going, crazy things can happen.