Long time no post, eh?
I worked with Charlene all weekend. My Saturday lesson went very well. Mom brought Monty up and hacked over from Bluebear with me. I galloped for about 3/4 of a mile with Willard, and he was hardly even puffing. It’s nice to have a superbly fit horse sometimes! Since we did most of our warm up hacking over, Charlene just had us to some basic warm up and then we got right into jumping work. We did a two stride exercise consisting of a pole to a gate vertical. This exercise really helped us establish our pace and enabled us to see the distance every time coming to the gate. Then we galloped to a wall off the diagonal going away from home after the two stride gate. He backed off the first time, but I rode him forward and he jumped it after his moment of hesitation. We then continued onto a log vertical off the other diagonal, which he also handled well.
Then it was time for line work. We started with a small oxer in going away, with four strides to a pole out. Then built up to a vertical out. Charlene made up a plan for me. If I got in deep to the oxer in, I was to quietly sit and hold his stride and wait for the 5 strides out. If I got a medium distance in, I relaxed my hold and let him open his stride a little. If I got a long distance I didn’t touch him. Throughout the exercise, I don’t think we had one ugly distance in or out. I credit this to the first exercise we did, because our pace was superb the whole lesson. After working this exercise for a while, we moved onto the single wall jump, this time going the other way. Facing home the wall was white with white poles on top, about 3ft. White jumps look more impressive to horses. Willard decided to drift out and away from the jump the first time, and the second time (which he had no reason to do). The second time, however, I caught him and he got a good smack. After this he was happy to jump over the scary white wall.
Our lesson today was probably the single best lesson I’ve had to date. We worked on much of the same exercises as Saturday, except the jumps were a hole or two bigger. The boy went to every single jump perfectly the first time, and continued this trend. We had our pace, and I was able to see every distance and make good decisions in the line and throughout the course. Usually my lessons run and hour and a half, this lesson however lasted 30 minutes. The only way I can describe how things felt is perfect. Just perfect. Hopefully we can carry this on to the show next weekend! That’d be fantastic, and it’d certainly make up for the last show.