I Rode Everybody
Well, after a mad shopping trip trying to find a pair of pants to go with the little jacket I bought yesterday. But then I found another nice jacket, and...well, let's just say I have now visited nearly every clothing store within a half hour's drive--except the three big malls that are a little more out of the way. I think I have a nice combination among the things I bought. But the weather on Easter Sunday morning will be the final determinant. I have a warm weather combo and a cool weather combo, so we shall see. I just like to have a new outfit for Easter morning, kind of as a good luck thing.
I got home by mid afternoon and headed out to ride. To my delight, Toby came right over to me, so I took him in first, promising that we would go out for a nice little hack. I didn't fib, and out we went just kind of happily strolling through the woods. It was warm and sunny, so the weather was perfect and, there are no bugs out yet. When we got back I cheated a little and rode him in the arena. Nothing too challenging, but we ended up jumping the little jump several times in each direction. He stayed nice and relaxed and let me try to place him in good spots.
Boy, have I lost my "eye" for the distance to a fence. Well, I kind of see it three strides out, but I can't seem to make the right decisions on whether to hold or go on. Ah, well, when the jump is only a foot or so high, it's hard to make a serious mistake.
I rode Tucker next and gave him a short school first. My idea is to energize him each time I ride, encouraging more "forward" by getting him a little excited about what we are doing. Today, I did a lot of changes of direction both at the trot and the canter. I am only doing about one trot stride for the lead changes, with plans to eventually introduce the flying change as he gets stronger and more fit. I rode him over the little jump as well and he is really responsive to my adjustments. Because he is more willing to balance into the fence, it is much easier to pick a better spot to jump from, so he did a bit better than Toby.
Then we too went out for a hack and had a lovely relaxing ride.
Third up was Chance. After a bit of trot with changes of direction on him, I headed for the jump and let him take it from the trot the first few times. He jumped rather well, actually, and felt good at it, so when he broke naturally into a canter, I finished up jumping a few more times from the canter.
Now, mind you, I realize that a one foot jump really is no more than an elevated canter stride--hardly a real jump at all--but when I first schooled my Russell R, we spent dozens and dozens of lessons doing cross rails and little jumps. It was all the essential schooling for jumping technique. We rarely, even after I was competing in jumping classes at 3'6" did much more than 2'-2'6" in lessons and even then warmed up over the little crossrails. It was all about gymnastics, not jumping height. So, I am just doing little things now to introduce the concept in case I ever want to jump something more challenging down the line. And, the jumping itself, is good both mentally and physically for dressage horses.
Chance and I went out into the woods as well and had a nice ride. So that was three for three.
Nothing like a nice Sunday with the Boys.