Monday, March 16, 2015

Jumping Clinic Weekend

Sketch of us
On Sunday  I attended the first of a series of jumping clinics at a nearby facility that I signed up for. The clinic focus was working on  ground poles and cross rails. The series of clinics are scheduled once a month and then meet each month to build on your jumping skills.  I was fairly positive we could handle ground rails and cross-rails since that is where we left off last fall. We have also done a few ground rail sessions this winter so it wasn't totally new. I wasn't totally confident we would manage ok,  but you have to start somewhere  , right?  Brego struggles in new environments with new things to see, but there is only way to work a horse through that..and that is just to do more of it. Last summer he was a road warrior with T, going to all the clinics T was teaching at. Apparently it paid off because he did really really well.

 It was pouring down rain and wind and we all know how that sounds in an indoor arena. There was also alot of activity with other clinic participants and boarders getting their horses ready. Several young girls board here and it was a caucauphony of giggles and talking.   Brego snorted once or twice and then settled right in. Pretty soon he was walking around the arena on the buckle.

The only mostly non blurry picture T managed to get..

In the group I rode in, it turned out he was much less green than the other horse/rider combo's we were joined with. However, we were also the only horse in the group with a  motor. The rest all required alot of "encouragement" to move forward, so the clinician had me set the pace for the trot work. When it came to canter however, we struggled. Brego likes to pull and has a handy trick for getting behind the bit, which makes pulling on my part to slow him down completely useless. We worked on pulling against each other less and just using a softer half halt to slow him up. It was a bit frustrating because it didn't really feel like I was getting any change , but neither was pulling on him with herculean force either. Its going to take time. There seems to be a fine line between getting him to slow and keeping him from breaking into a trot.  When it came time to do actually trot rails and cross rails, he was a rockstar. I was quite happy with him.  Brego trotted through all the poles and cross rail combinations without much effort. We had hoped that he would actually jump the cross rail , land in a canter and then keep going but he didn't. He just trotted happily through and I was good with that. He stayed calm, straight and forward through it. He even kept a steady rhythm so I was overjoyed with that. We can build from that!.

 I am seeing a a big improvement from where he was at last year.. (a last minute brake at the base of the cross rail, then gingerly step over it like it was a log on the trail)  I think he is going to be a horse that requires it to be an actual jump , like a vertical , before he actually sees the value in jumping it.

We will get there .. but no sense rushing a good thing. I really like where his mind is so far this spring.

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