We started with a wee tiny crossrail with placing poles before and after. I like the poles particularly because they give him a very visual reference for what his feet are supposed to be doing. He is a super quick learner and I think his pole-related stress is getting a little better, because he trotted right in...
|He's got this|
|such cute knees|
He's still just cantering over the teeny little jumps, but he's so darn cute when he does it. It makes me smile when I can just point and shoot and the two of us feel confident together.
And again, cantering away on a loose rein.
I don't know whether it was the cross country clinic or the improved flatwork or how great his body feels or his (minimal) grid work or what the difference is, but Courage has definitely figured out what his job is.
That makes all the difference. Last year, he would get wiggly going to jumps because he wasn't quite sure what to do. This year? Ears up, brain engaged.
Jump the jumps.
Sometimes he does have wild moments. It's not really a buck and it usually ends in a flying lead change.
I'm not sure what to call it other than kind of silly looking.
The jump standard blocks the view here, but we stuck a rail over the black tube aka "great wall of china" that he couldn't mentally process last year.
It's set on the center line of the arena, so he only gets maybe two straight strides to look at in on the approach, but he didn't even hesitate.
At the end, we put a fun little course together.
The jumps look tiny and they are, but it is just so good for both of us to have fun and build confidence together.
It's supposed to be easy. We do this for fun.
We're having fun.
I'm working to find the balance of staying in my comfort zone long enough to build my own confidence, but also stretching it enough that I don't stagnate or regress. Courage is just the man for the job. I'm excited to see where we go together.