|Charlie says "It's about time!"|
Ok, so feeling much better about my flat work, we jumped on Friday and it was fun! Now, I used to be a pretty good show jumper if I say so myself but that was a long time ago and on a very different horse. We started the lesson by doing some flexing in and out and using some easy leg yielding to get Charlie supple and listening. As Cherie said, everything we do on the flat becomes magnified when jumping. I like to think of it as a bendy horse will turn, a stiff horse runs through the turn and you miss your fence. Not recommended. Anyway, all this flexing helps me too because it seems to help me stay soft in my hand and helps me keep my outside aids on (again, helps with turning - I really need to remember this while I'm on the horse!).
We started the jumping with what I'll call the circle exercise - 2 cavalettis set up one-stride apart on a circle. It's really an exercise for the rider - you can't get stuck looking at the first cavaletti or you'll forget to steer to the second one (I did this!). So I had a drive by on the second cavaletti the first time but got it the second time around. We did this a few times in each direction - for me it was all about maintaining the bend and staying quiet. For Charlie, it was all about being quick on his feet - which he was because one time I let his stride get a tad long and he bounced it! Oops! After this, we moved onto a cross rail exercise where a rail was placed a short 3 strides from a cross rail. The point is for me to contain his stride enough (and let me tell you, it's a reallllllly looooong stride!) to get the 3. This is a really good exercise for me because it will (hopefully!) help me get more comfortable with the short spot. It took about 2 tries before we got it just right - I'm pretty sure we got the 3 stride each time, it just wasn't that pretty. But the last time we did it, it was really nice!
Next up was course work. We just worked on me staying soft and back with my upper body (I love to collapse forward with the tight spot, grrrr!). Charlie was great - I kept him a little too quiet, he definitely could have used a little more impulsion to one of the lines. He just feels like he's trucking along because his stride is so huge. I need to have a better idea of what pace I need to be going at which means I need to jump more. But guess what? I have video of our last course - nothing fancy so don't get too excited. We were both a little tired so it wasn't our best one but you can see the circle exercise (the third jump is in between it). I'm an idiot and can't figure out how to imbed it so here's the link - Charlie - Jumping in SP
I forgot to mention that I clipped Charlie while in Southern Pines. I'd only clipped one other horse before - Prince the day before. I don't think I butchered him too badly except for maybe his face which is a long story but hopefully it will grow out quickly. He was really good - no drugs required. I think he sometimes forgets he's an OTTB.
|One last shot of Charlie and Alex - they love each other!|