March 14, 2013

Back to jumping, back to the beginning.

Now that Rose has been back in full work for two months, I decided it was time she started jumping again. For some reason, when I first popped her over a small ex in January she gave no indication of having ever jumped before in her life. Given her age, if I had not known that I jumped her over 2' courses two years ago, I might have bought her lie. However, I know better. It seems to me that she has lost all the confidence that she had developed back then. My game plan? Start over again from scratch.

Stage One (February): Poles
Throughout the month of February we walked, trotted, and cantered ground poles. My goal was to get her completely comfortable with the fact that, yes, I am going to ask her to move her body over a frozen albino death python long white round tube and she is going to calmly go over it like it wasn't even there. This was easily and well accomplished.

Stage Two (March): Grid Work
Starting this week it was time to turn those ground poles into small ex's. Yesterday I foolishly decided to just set up an ex and give it a go. That was foolish of me, and I knew better. She pulled all sorts of fun pranks like halting ten feet from the jump and refusing to go near it even when I got off to lead her over it, and trying to run out and avoid the jump at every opportunity. Stubborn as I am though, I did in the end win and get her over the ex willingly a few times before calling it a night. I decided then and there that I would do things better tonight, dial it back and really start over from scratch.

After a good flat warm up, with lots of leg yielding and trot work, I set up a grid with four trot poles and two standards. I like to put up standards even if I don't turn them into jump so that my horse gets used to going through standards without becoming anxious/anticipating a jump. First I had Rose walk through the poles, and then the next time around trot them. We kept trotting the poles until she was completely calm trotting through them in both directions. I gave her lots of breaks and praise when the task was done well. Next I set up the world's smallest jump two trot poles, a nine foot space, and an 18" ex with a ground line. Starting with the walk, I took Rose through the grid, keeping her at the walk and popping over the little jump.

When you do this exercise with a lot of horses they will just walk over the tiny, unimpressive jump. Some even will drag their feet and knock the whole kit and caboodle down. Not Rose. Heck no. She jumps it like it is at least 2'. Her jump is round at least, she just doesn't realize that she can be lazy about this exercise.  That will come in time. I had her walk through it a few times until she was completely willing to go straight through the grid, no hesitation,  no attempt at wiggling and running out. I also wanted to be able to halt her at any point prior to the jump, pet her, and then ask her to continue on, again with no hesitation. After the jump I immediately brought her back and asked for a halt. We repeated this until she was willing and quiet. After a good break and lots of praises, we did the same thing at the trot, repeating until we achieved willing and calm and made sure to end on a very good note. I was very pleased with my girl and I am definitely looking forward to getting her over some more jumps.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like Rose is getting the hang of it all again. She's lucky to have an owner willing to take the time to get her used to it all again slowly.



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