Sunday, August 28, 2016

Baby Steps

Had some very fun first steps in getting more involved with the Thoroughbred retraining program as well as our veterans program here...we have a military couple who are interested in helping to organize and get programming together.  I met one of them this weekend and I'm excited to work with them.  Their energy and enthusiasm is wonderful, and gives me renewed interest in making this program useful to our local military community.

I've also been assisting getting one of the TBs started over fences.  I love working with green beans, I love working with horses that need a slower approach to a solution, and I love being a part of the team here.  Baby jumper stuff is fun for me, and the farm owner sure seemed pleased to see the mare go.  She had a rough start after the track; ended up in a bad training situation and inherited a bunch of issues as a result.  So we're focusing on staying soft, encouraging contact, and building off the little things.  She's super sweet, tries hard, and is proving to be very forgiving in overcoming the defensive mechanisms she had to develop.

Good girl Baby Girl!

Also had a great jump school with Soonie this morning too.  We have a two-day jump clinic next weekend, so I wanted to be sure to put him over everything today.  He jumped wonderfully - I really felt like we had most of our mojo today.  He jumped well from the base, felt the same from the smaller stuff to the larger stuff, and I had just a blast with him.  We had a very forward three stride to a one stride that I did not attempt last time we jumped as the entire line was set up...I figured because it was so forward it might be a problem for him to take the whole thing.  So instead I had my helper put the first jump of the one stride down and rode the one-to-three (pole, one step to the vertical, three steps to the oxer)...first time through he put a stride and a half inside the in-and-out and then we rode a more conservative four strides to the oxer.  I figured that would happen, and came around for a second pass only much more forward.  I closed my leg and sent him, and he nailed the one stride to three.

We put the whole line up and he went down the three-to-one well enough despite the forward pace.  I do seem to have an issue getting him truly forward enough for open lines like that, so we need more of these exercises.  But bottom line, I'm very happy not only with how he went today, but that I made the call to put one of the fences in the one-stride down to simplify it beforehand.  Soon is awesome if he's confident in how to answer the question.  But if he's confused or lacks confidence he will stop.  I thought this would help him figure it out with less pressure, and I'm glad my instincts were right.  It helped to lead to a wonderful jump school and a happy horse.  :)

Happy Horsey

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