Once down at JT's, when the poles turned into slightly raised poles, he felt like the rules had been changed on him a little bit and he suddenly had to think very hard about them. It almost felt like back tracking because his nonchalance was gone. So we spent a few weeks trotting ground poles and cavaletti until he got the relaxation back.
Last week I took him out in hand and walked over baby cross rails until he was bored, which really was almost immediately. He also jumped over a log somewhat buried in grass. I was just trying to desensitize by standing on it while he ate grass nearby, but he popped over it several times with no prompting from me. Good boy!
He would be fairly easy to screw up if we pushed him too fast too quickly. He's sensitive and does internalize stress to some degree. He's also very willing and wants to please and wants to be a good boy, so it would be easy to have him rushing blindly and GOING and DOING IT because that's what he's supposed to do. But he wouldn't really understand the questions and would be quick and tense.
So we kept the questions tiny and easy and JT rode him to get the timing exactly right. Not allowing him to rush into her hand before the jump, but still giving him complete freedom over the jump.
I missed the last pass where he cantered the furthest way X really nicely and softly. Good boy!!!
We started with ground poles between standards again, but he was very relaxed with those so then I turned them into the tiny cross rails in the video. The first pass over the cross rail, he then thought he should in fact jump the ground pole he came to next. It's so interesting to me watching him puzzle all this out.
Semi-related, he took a field trip this weekend to majestic oaks to professionally stand on the trailer and eat hay with JT's 4 yo OTTB. I was at work, but reports were good that he went from pretty wide eyed to relaxed and munching hay. Baby steps!
|He is a LOT taller than her 4 YO|