Courage and I haven't jumped a lot this year. Part of that is moving to a dressage barn and getting serious about improving our flat work.
The other part of it has just been finding our sea legs together. I needed Courage to be in a place where I felt comfortable just kicking him and riding him forward. We hack around barn property now pretty much 5 days a week. I make Courage do ALL the spooky stuff. It's paying off enormously--his disobedience is now spooking forward instead of parking it or things things in reverse. I can deal with that.
|squint a little. they're jumps.|
And now I've started adding fences back in. I really also want to add lessons back in, but logistics are a bit of a nightmare this month, so eventually. For now, I'm focusing on jumping hundreds of tiny jumps. Hundreds. Easy. If it looks big to me, I put it down. I haven't put together any lines or grids or related distances.
|waiting while i set jumps|
We ride big swoopy turns to tiny fences. I put my leg on and my shoulders back and my eyes up. I keep my hands forward and give big releases (because Courage would far rather I tip forward like a jumper than hit him in the face like an eventer).
Honestly, it's really interesting. Some days it's even fun. Courage is far less green to his fences than he is in dressage. I am actually capable of riding quite well if I'm not feeling overfaced and terrified. Just like with out hacking, it's about building a bank of calm, positive experiences for us to draw on.
The day we got video, I was a bit appalled by how backed off I had him, though happy with his relaxation. The next time we jumped, I kept the fence heights the same, but pushed him more forward. Basically, if he's not getting clean changes, I need more horse.
When I watch other people ride, I'm always jealous of the ones who have the been there/done that horses that are pretty much point and shoot. So. That's what I'm trying to create. We don't have to be the fanciest or most polished or have the most ribbons and nicest stuff. I just want to continue creating my cool horse to have fun on, now over fences as well as on the flat.