Sunday morning Tater got a bath -( and not just because we were tempting Fate and wanted it to rain! ) – we were headed out the the ” last schooling jumper show’ of the year at Pippa’s! Well for some reason, her schooling jumper shows.. and us.. can’t seem to jive – one time we packed up ponies and drove over only to find that we had the date wrong.. oops! This time, a few people had come out and shown, but the impending rain made them decide to cancel! UGH! Rain? People: after 3 months of 100 degree weather I WANTED to ride in the rain! 🙂
Anyhooters, since Pippa is so awesome and nice, she let us go ahead and school the horses in her ring – jumps all set up and everything! Basically, despite the lack of “show atmosphere” I was glad to be able to get Tater off the farm, and out of his normal routine and comfort zone – that’s always a great indicator of their attitude and lets you check it off the list: yep, trailers out to go schooling ! check!
In the spirit of being totally honest, I confess when I first got on he was a little “up”… but his version of ‘up’ is just feeling more balanced, without any effort on my part! hah! Perfect!
He put himself in the right balance for work – for jumping especially! More perfect because this is what I’ve been working on with him – to train/allow/ask/pray for- him to hold himself up. Like a lot of young horses (and ex racehorses ) he wants to go along on his forehand, so his downward transitions have found him sometimes feeling like he’s falling in a heap. Its that vicious circle where they can’t do it until they are strong enough, and they can’t get strong enough unless they DO IT! Tater gets better by the day, and will get even better with whoever the lucky person is who gets to take him on!
The ring was already set up with brightly colored jumps – also a first for Tater. We mosied around for a few minutes taking it all in. Then settled on the little green and white vertical at the short end of the ring to start with. We walked up towards it.. picked up our trot and popped over! This first time I was in my defensive stance – hands wide to steer him to the middle of the jump.. but seriously folkeses, it doesn’t get much more uncomplicated than this:
Tater took to it very quickly! He is genuine and quiet but did do the green-bean-side-to-side-yes-I-really-mean-go-OVER-that-thing-in-front-of-us move in front of the first jump. But after trotting up to the first 3 or 4 little fences he really started to get it – I never felt like I had to kick him down to anything.. it was more “showing” him the way over the fence.
Our goal was not just to get him out and about but to actually school him. Since he wants to be on his forehand at the moment, he tends to land from the little jumps and speed up – which might feel like he gets strong – only not! So I jumped him out of the trot, and then got the trot back quickly after the jumps. Not to mention that it was raining! And I forgot to bring gloves (gasp!) and had braided leather reins so I had a very slippery grip to say the least! On the flat it is hard for him to transition downward, from canter to trot, trot to walk and even walk to halt – so naturally these things are magnified over fences. Even over little tiny first time fences.
Soon he was taking us down to everything – ears pricked forward, he loves his job!He was SO good through a 4 stride line where he trotted in and we kept cantering through – he’s going to be an easy, straightforward ride!
(Did I mention it was finally raining!? yay!)