|He's flirting. Pretty much the dorkiest thing ever.|
I put him in the pelham with a plain cavesson and no martingale, to practice our theoretical show get up.
We started out trotting in, cantering out over a teeny jump. It was a cross rail! Haha, been a while since we'd done one of those. She had me really focus on my position and rhythm, both going in and coming out. I had to be more than just a passenger along for the ride. It was up to me to set the rhythm and tell Cuna where to go. Then we added another crossrail after a nice, loopy turn. Then they went up to verticals.
The final pattern was to canter a 2'3"ish vertical, take a long right hand turn to a one stride made of large verticals, to a long left turn to a bending line of 2'9"ish verticals.
I know when I get tense and worried about a fence, I tend to cluck and chase Cuna to it. I also know that clucking and chasing is a recipe for long and strung out and doesn't help anything.
So. Course. I picked up a canter, sent Cuna forward, then brought him back before the turn to the first fence and settled to a nice, easy distance. He went forward after the jump, which I packaged nicely and kept balanced around the turn. I saw the giant verticals looming, but instead of panicking, I told myself, "This is a fantastic canter on a broke horse. Wait for it to happen."
Magically, he jumped both verticals right out of stride. Again, I balanced him around the turn and settled to the bending line. He jumped softly and in balance.
Oh, and after that particular piece of loveliness, Steph walked up to the highest vertical, pointed out that it was over 3' tall, and said, "That's an actual jump and you rode it great."
Huzzah! I really liked how that one stride felt. For some reason, riding the canter through the turn and settling to the fence and not tensing up and chasing him over it makes for a much smoother round. Who knew, right?