It had been almost two weeks since we’d done a jumping lesson, since she had a missing shoe the other week, and we did a dressage lesson last week. Now, the dressage lesson was sorely needed, and she felt great by the end of it, but Cally was Not Happy that no jumping was involved, and instead she was relegated to making figures in the sandbox. So I should not have been surprised that she was more than a little exuberant when she realized we were going to be Jumping All The Things during our lesson yesterday. Cally actually warmed up really nicely, relaxed and forward, though she got a little excited when I asked for lead changes at the canter. We got them, though, and settled back down nicely.
So the first exercise we started with was actually a groundpole exercise Holly said was one of George Morris’, which naturally meant it was harder than it appeared, poles set at two strides, one stride, and three strides. That also means you can use it as poles or Xs of real fences or whatever your horse/rider skill level is, which is nice to have. The first time through was a hot mess, as Cally sort of hopped over the pole between the 2 and the 1 and swapped leads and was just all sorts of discombobulated. The next time through, I kept leg on and kept her straight, and just sort of let her figure it out a bit more, and it felt better but not great. The third time, as we came around to it, Holly said to think about half-halting over the second pole, and at the end of the line. And voila, just like that, things fell into place. We went through one more time doing it nicely, then switched directions to try it the other way. I came through and knew as we hit the 2 at the end it was going to be wrong, and it was, as we got a one-and-a-half through it. We came around again, with a more supportive leg, and nailed it. And that left me with a good feel for what our pace and step needed to be to make the distances in the lines we were going to be jumping.
We warmed up by popping over the little lattice, then coming around out of the turn to the long bending line, which woke Cally right up and she totally nailed in a lovely forward 6. She was being a little frisky, nothing bad, just feeling revved up, so we headed right into a course. And the sassy came out to play after the first fence.
I mean, obviously she’s just happy to be jumping, and she settled in as we went around. I was keeping a bit shorter rein and release than usual, just because of how frisky she was being, and we needed it to try to get that 4 in the tight line, which I actually think if it was set in a bigger ring, or outside course, she could have done in 3 if I’d let her. But we were working on getting her to settle and listen, even when she was a bit Up. This was actually a good lesson in remembering what I’d seen the day before at the show, and not picking at her just because she was going, and learning to work with that and allow her to use that energy productively to carry me to the fence.
We switched the courses around a bit, but nailed the 2, which has often been a problem for us, every time, and I think had like one chip the whole lesson! And we ended with this, which felt amazing.
I’m really glad we were able to work through and with her being a bit sassy–which I think was mostly the lack of jumping and arrival of cooler weather–and get her where she needed to be. It wasn’t hunter-y, but it was certainly a respectable eq trip, and since my check for MAEF cleared my account this week, I’ve got eq on the brain, even though we’ve got a while until it happens.