When the wheels fell off the bus when Ben's feet hurt and he started stopping at fences, Ms. GY said "You don't look nervous though," I said that I was actually incredibly nervous. I think this was somewhat of a surprise to JT. I don't really show my emotions much. I will feel like I am incredibly stressed and panicky, but I don't seem to appear that way to other people. So I guess I need to use my words more often. JT said that going forward, we would make sure the wheels were so securely put back on that even if he stopped, my reaction would not be to panic and start riding defensively as though he was not going to leave the ground at the next fence either.
Our jump lessons have been geared in that direction. When we jumped before the November Rocking Horse, we left the jumps at novice height. It looked and felt easy. Then we had our lovely course at the show where he loped around like a hunter (with a bit of sass). Our jumping lesson on Tuesday we went back up in height. Ben was FEELING himself like crazy and was playing in the corners. I was able to go with that mostly okay and tell him to get it together with leg on, but then he hit a couple of rails and started taking off a bit.
We finally got it all together for our second to last time through the course. Watching the video though, I need to square my shoulders and put my butt in the saddle like woah. I ordered some K tape to use to try to remind myself. I've been pretty dedicated to doing my "T's, Y's, and W's" and my husband's assessment is that the strength is there in the upper back, but I need to strengthen the lower back and remind myself to use those muscles I've developed.
We had a check in of how well we had it together on Sunday at a schooling jumper show. The course was a bit interesting with a quadruple across the diagonal - a 4 stride to a 1 stride to a 3 stride. ohhhh boy. Ben warmed up spooky, shocking, I know. But he was jumping well. JT popped the warmup oxer up to 3'6"-3'9" and I did that without too much screaming, so we went in. He then pretended like he had never been in the ring before and spooked at EVERYTHING. I wasn't able to move his back enough to soften him up and get him to take a breath, probably because I didn't try very much. But y'know what? He still went in there and jumped all the jumps.
When we turned to the quadruple, he definitely took in the whole line and then screamed a bit. But I sat up and rode him forward and he did the dang thing. I told JT it felt scrappy when we came out. She said it didn't look that bad, and she was right, the video doesn't look quite as screamy/scrappy as it felt. He knocked two rails in the first round, JT noted "He jumps by braille when his back is tight."
The second round was a bit smoother, we still had two rails, but one was a complete derp at the second jump and the other was him spooking at someone racking on the other side of the skinny. We still majorly chipped to the one stride and he consequently had to launch for the out, but we put the right number of strides in all the related distances and again I didn't question for a second whether or not he was going to jump.
We are doing one final jump lesson on Thursday and then heading to Rocking Horse this weekend!