I gave my student lessons again today. The focus was to learn the basic movements of Training Level Test 1 and Test 2 for her competition in two weeks.
Horse #1 does go on the bit for much of the work, but he does not stretch down at either the walk or trot, mostly because he is not consistent enough yet. They have added the stretchy trot circles to the Training level tests for 2011. And they have changed Test #1 almost completely. Obedience and accuracy will be no problem for my rider. The roundness and submission to the bit will be not as good. She needs to score 60% to qualify for the State 4-H Horse Show, which is her goal. If she puts in a really good test to the peak of her current training and ability, that is possible.
We schooled Training Level Test #2 on the sister's horse. She will not be showing him in the dressage which is just fine. He is far from ready to work with a round back for more than about three strides at a time. But his obedience was very good anyhow, so that was a nice plus. Of the two horses, he is the better mover and if we can get him to go on the bit he is going to be really nice.
At the end of the lesson, I set up a little jump which I expanded into a two jump grid with a trot pole for the first little crossrail. My student wants to show him in a hunter hack class that requires jumping two jumps set a 2'6". Not high, but definitely a jump height. She hadn't jumped him much at all, so today was kind of a test run. He was really good once I got the distance set just right for his stride. As he went through the little grid, you could see his confidence build and by the end, he was really "into" it. The show is Saturday of this week, so I don't know if she should take him in the class, but I'm pretty sure the horse can do it. She and her mom will just have to decide.
I went back out myself later to ride a little. I chose Tucker as the "mount of choice" mostly because I haven't ridden him in a while and certainly had not tried him with back shoes.
Well, there was the usual "I won't go forward" stuff at first. But when I made it clear he had no choice, he walked off and finally, with a little more persuasion, trotted. He is so out of shape, I really didn't push too much, but just expected a nice trot with some contact on the rein. The best change was that getting canter was not too much of a battle. He was a little resistant, but nothing like he was before I gave him the medication for his hocks.
Time will tell me more than anything. Establishing Tucker's work ethic is a hard job, requiring time and repetition. If he feels OK physically, it will improve quickly. If is he sore anywhere, then progress will be erratic.
Since the little jumping grid was still set up, I decided to take Tucker through it a few times. I'd lowered the second jump to about a foot, no more. But Tuck thought it was all good fun and made a nice honest jump out of it anyhow. We jumped through about five times and ended on a really good, smooth effort. Tuck does not run at the jumps which is nice and, as I have noted before, he would be a nice hunter/jumper if I were still riding those disciplines.
I was a bit surprised to realize I was physically tired after one horse, so I decided to lunge Chance instead of riding him. After some plain old walk.trot/canter on the line, I sent him through the grid. He too is very quiet about it, but he seems to have trouble landing and cantering on. So, he jumped the little crossrail and then fell back to trot for the two canter stride distance to the second jump and then kind of "climbed" over that one. Still, he was nice an honest about it. I'd rather have my horse a little lazy going into a fence than racing flat at one. Some work, and I'm sure he'd be good at it too.
Guess we all just need to play some more with that kind of stuff.