Today I adjusted a few of the fences in the Big Ring, which was dry and looking good, if a little windy. I wanted to really try jumping around a bit with the baucher when I tried it, to see how it felt going around part of a course, rather than just a few fences.
I’m not quite sure how she goes in it on the flat. Our warmup wasn’t bad, but she was so looky up there from not having been in that ring in a few months that I can neither credit nor complain about anything on that front, other than a lack of any objections on her part. Though the canter was truly lovely–it felt a lot lighter in front and less pully. I figured that was a good sign, and headed for a little X. We did what we’d done at our lesson last week, halted and turned around and came back, rinse repeat a few times with quite nice results, so I moved on to the same exercise over a small gate. Same results–controlled, polite, with no overreactivity to a half-halt. Coming back around to the left, I decided to keep cantering after the fence and made a pretty tight turn to a natural vertical, which felt great. I came back around and did the gate to natural again, then added a bending line on to a small plank fence, and while I didn’t ride the bending line as definitively as I should have, Cally felt great. I took a breather to assess what fences I had in what alignment as I waited for Susan to come up to the ring on Teddy, so someone was around while I was jumping more than a few warmup fences. I decided to stick with the gate to natural turn, since it was riding well and did pose a good steering challenge trial, and added a right turn around the planks from earlier, on to a nicely sized oxer at the far end of the ring. The first time around I was quite surprised at not having to take back through the turn, and so we got to the oxer way under powered and pulled the front rail. I hopped off, rather pleased, frankly, to fix it and adjust a ground rail in front of another fence.
We came around again, and it felt great! I still didn’t have the power I’d have liked to the last oxer, so I circled around back to it, and then went from the oxer to a vertical halfway down the long side of the ring. It all felt wonderful–there’s a nice half-halt there, but not so much bit that it overpowers her sensitivity when I’m asking for a turn or small adjustment, because she doesn’t really need a lot in that department. And the mouthpiece on the baucher is a simple French link, which I like.
This definitely merits more trials, and maybe investing in one for my bit collection, because I think it might work very well for us. Weather dependent tomorrow, I’ll see how she feels in it again on the second ride, and definitely do a bit more flatwork. We’ll see if the weather cooperates for more over fences work. But boy did it feel great to go jump in the big ring again! And so well at that!