Thursday, June 24, 2021

Or two!

Last week before Ms. GY and I coordinated a lesson with her dressage trainer, I reached out to a local upper level eventer that I'd taken two lessons with while at my old barn. I'm not sure if she remembered who I was, but she was very welcoming regardless, and we scheduled a lesson pretty easily. I did let her know we were only doing poles at this point, but I wanted to get him going properly when we did start over fences. She said she might be able to come out to the farm, but it was easier if I hauled to her. Off farm practice is always useful too, so it wasn't a tough decision. This morning I loaded up Yoshi for the second day in a row, and we headed on the 30 minute drive to her beautiful farm. 

He hauled really well and was very relaxed tacking up there. He waited about 0.5 seconds after getting off the trailer before parking out and peeing - thank goodness he has not made peeing on the trailer into a habit. We meandered out to the jump field and stared around at things. There was a lot to look at: a tall rack with stacked jump poles, woods bordering the fields, someone hand walking a filly by those woods, a liverpool, and tons of interesting colored and shaped jump fillers. Once the lesson before finished up, she put us to work. She had us working on a LOT of the same flatwork as we had just done the day before, with a bit more of an emphasis of moving the inside shoulder over after getting the bend. She wanted the leg AT the girth for this to emphasize it was shoulder moving over with the caution that if the leg is too far back you get haunches swinging out on turns. In the canter, first it was FORWARD with both legs channeling into both hands. Then we started doing the same inside bend, move inside shoulder over, accept with the outside hand. She also emphasized the benefit of being QUIET at the correct spot. Make it comfortable there. 

We started out jumping over a cross rail. He was a good boy in spite of the fillers (half lime slices) being moved to either side to flank the jump. We then looped a few crossrails/crossrail oxers together. She wanted to trot in to build strength and straightness and then canter away from the jump going FORWARD before bringing back to a nice trot. If we were supposed to go left after but he landed on the right lead, we would trot, pick up the left lead, canter on for a few strides, and then trot again. After a few loops of 2-3 jumps, we added in the liverpool. He's hopped over the liverpool at home, but this one was real, not just a tarp between poles, and had shiny water in it from the rain the night before. He stopped and tried sideways and backwards, but acquiesced eventually and let her lead him over it with a huge leap. We went back and forth and back and forth until it was NBD. Trot in, canter out, circle left one time, right the next. 

Next she added baby bounces. The whole line was a bounce - 3 strides to a bounce - 3 strides to a bounce (total of 6 jumps). The end bounces were cavaletti, the middle were crossrails. We only did 2/3 of it at one time. First over the cavalleti bounces. He trotted the whole thing the first time, kinda fumbling over the striding of it, but he didn't try to exit. She was very pleased with his honesty, but wanted him actually doing a bounce, so she had me add a canter aid at the base of each. This helped and he got the hang of it. Then we added in the crossrails to the cavaletti. The first time he fumbled over the cavaletti because he saw them from the crossrails and got a little quick, but he figured it out the next time. Each time this was in a loop of a few other jumps too, including the liverpool. He got more and more brave over that and gave it less of a look each time. Even when he was looking though, after the first few times it was a "look while I jump" not "look while I stop". He's really, really a very honest trier of a horse, I could not ask for a more amateur friendly horse. Throughout the whole lesson she kept calling out position reminders too, stretch up tall, eyes up, look, wait for him, etc etc. Things that I know but that are so useful to hear while piloting the green horse around. 

We finished by adding back in a half lime slice to the crossrail. She had us trot it at first by itself and then come around at it in the canter after the pair of bounces. Both times he was just super, no hesitation just a little extra space. On that positive note, we were DONE. She was very pleased with him, as was I. I untacked him and hosed him off. He was very clearly communicating that he needed water immediately as soon as I turned the hose on. I started on his legs, but he was turning himself into a pretzel in the wash rack trying to get his face on the hose. He sucked down water straight out of my hand/the hose until I filled a bucket for him. He drained that multiple times and then decided he was satisfied. He loaded up super easily too, and we headed home with the trailer fan on to try to cool him off. It must've worked because he walked off the trailer only a little sweaty. He went straight out into the field with his friends, so hopefully he moves around enough he doesn't get too sore after all that work. He'll get a light hack and some stretching and massage tomorrow. When I got out of the truck, I definitely felt the work we'd done in my abs, butt, and back! Some of the back may have been the launching jumps he took over the liverpool, but the butt and abs are genuine, hard earned soreness. 

It was SUCH an amazing lesson, I am so excited to go back there in 1.5 weeks. In the mean time she wanted us working on the flat work and trotting crossrails a few times a week. Thinking forward after the jump and continuing to string things together in a looping fashion. 

We've got a dressage lesson next Wednesday and then another jump lesson on Saturday. I'm so happy to be out and doing things with him. 


  1. I really like this horse. He's a nice mover and has a great mind. You're doing a great job with him. You guys are a nice, quiet pair. It's fun watching you develop together.

  2. aw what a good egg! looks like a fantastic lesson!! love the homework too, that's basically exactly what my trainer had me do with my horse when he was starting jumping -- lots of focus on landing+forward; and practicing little crosses often enough to keep them fresh in his mind

    1. He is the best egg! That approach makes so much sense - she said she liked to do things like the fillers and liverpool and baby bounces early so that they stay engaged and thinking, but aren't overwhelmed.