Tuesday, November 15, 2016

jumping all the things!!! (sorta!!!)

First things first: Brita announced that this blog's media game has been majorly lacking lately (too true), and therefore made it her business to fix that sad state of affairs. So brace yourself for video still overload from Charlie's second jump lesson at OF!!

Tho let's set expectations right off the bat: It's a lot of pictures, yes. And yes, Charlie is obviously easy on the eyes, regardless of what he's actually doing. But... well. These are tiny jumps and he is very unimpressed by them. I therefore cannot promise that you will, in turn, be impressed by all these awesome action shots lol.

finally. photographic evidence of the pure joy that is cantering this horse!
Plus this big leggy guy is still learning the finer points of where all four of his legs are at any given point. Those hind legs in particular often seem blissfully unaware of what the front legs are doing lol.

pretty keen for our first cross rails
Anyway, now that we're all on the same page, let's get on with the lesson. Again the flat work was very straight forward and low key. I tried to do more justice to the education trainers P and C have poured into me over the past couple years, and actually ask Charlie for better work. My focus needs to be bending 'n sending Charlie. And sending 'n bending. Forever and ever amen.

Trainer P also encouraged me to dish out the praise whenever Charlie lowers his head, regardless of why he's doing it. I was a little hesitant about this, bc Charlie's been experimenting with diving down and pulling me out of the saddle - which is not a trick I want him to learn.

moar cantering!!
But P said the answer to that is more core strength in the rider. She said that I should be strong enough in my core that when he pulls down, he's simply pulling my seat deeper into the saddle, rather than my upper body forward and seat out of the saddle.

jumping into his first "combination"!!
Really tho the lesson was all about continuing Charlie's introduction to jumping sticks! We started the same as last week with a placing pole to the teensiest of cross rails. Then an actual cross rail. Charlie was super good with them - actually jumping them and landing cantering.

so serious through the one stride haha
The exercise then grew to Charlie's first ever combination! Much excitement! It was the placing pole to the cross rail, then an 18' one stride to another teensy cross rail pole pile. Charlie nailed it the first time! Good boy!

clever pony!
(and am i the only one getting a kick out of his topline remaining basically unchanged through the entire exercise? lol)
Tho we started getting a little rushy at this point - I felt like it was Charlie who was anticipating and pulling forward tho trainer P attributed it to me. And perhaps she was right (let's be real, she was). An issue was that Charlie was going a little too fast up front, such that his hind legs never really had time to get up under himself to push off.

plenty of uh... less clever moments too lol (note the flying rails in the far right pic!)
So we did a lot of tripping and pole knocking with the hind end. Very graceful, let me tell you! Not that Charlie cared much about it, aside from some comical grunting (audible in the video lol).

Trainer P also was quick to change around the pole configurations as we came through the grid again and again. This time an X to a pole pile, next time a pole pile to an X. All with the intention of keeping Charlie focused and thinking about the task at hand hoof.

cute trot to the panels!
After quieting things down a little bit, we basically just trotted everything else for the rest of the lesson. This is something I personally need to get a better feel for - how to keep thinking forward to the jump and asking Charlie to push off with his hind end evenly, but without rushing him at the jump such that he knocks it all down.

and tidy hind end to the dropped oxer rail!
(the rest of our lesson mates leaving the arena had him distracted enough that he actually showed some respect to the jump!)
Tho we did manage to get a few more nice efforts with Charlie getting his hind end up under himself and pushing off haha. Mostly tho, and you'll see it in the video, he just trots over or through everything. Big guy is unimpressed!

target acquired
At one point P actually had me canter him around a little bit before re-approaching our little oxer friend from last week, with the idea being to remind him of that forward thinking gait. All the same, tho, it's going to take some bigger jumps to inspire this guy, I think lol.

also somehow the clip from last week's trip over the single oxer ended up in this video too, at the very end. perhaps a false reflection of his efforts this week (he was much too bored to give even that much of an effort this time around lol) but i like seeing it there anyway as a reminder that he can and will actually jump things too haha

I'm cool with it, tho. Charlie hasn't really cared about a single thing I've pointed him at - aside from trying to figure out what to do with those long legs of his. So he's getting all sorts of experiences with knocking poles and tripping and making mistakes, as well as seeing lots of different styles and configurations of jumps. 

love <3 <3 <3
(tho for the sake of transparency i fully admit he's mid-dive in this pic haha)
It might not make for the prettiest picture right now, but I couldn't be more pleased with the progress. Especially his attitude in the face of all this new stuff - Charlie stayed super consistent throughout the entire ride (for instance, that video was compiled with clips taken over the course of maybe 40 minutes, and he looks the same throughout).

He's still super nonchalant about riding around a new ring too. His only spooky moment was mostly just plain old funny (except I legit almost ate dirt). Charlie marched over to an upright barrel for inspection, but then shied sideways when a small rock or chunk of kicked up sand unexpectedly pinged off the barrel's hollow exterior. And then he immediately stopped and seemed almost sheepish, like, "Oh, nobody saw that, right? I, uh, totally meant to do that!"

What a goof lol. Anyway I'm eager to keep workin down this path with Charlie. I've seen a few ottbs learn how to jump under trainer P's guidance and tutelage (including Wick and friend R's Birdie) and have plenty of patience for her methodology of repetition over low fences.

What about you? What are some of your favorite exercises for starting green horses over fences?

37 comments:

  1. He is totally unimpressed! But at this point I think it's a good thing. You know he can jump you just need some time to build up to where the jumps actually require some effort. :)

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    1. Lol he was basically snoozing through the lesson lol

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  2. I love the looped reins. OMG so laid back. I see great things in your future. Rome wasnt built in a day so from cross rails/poles the jumps will get bigger! :) Great job!! Love his attitude. you could bottle that stuff and sell it! LOL

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    1. OMG seriously haha. I couldn't be happier with his chill attitude!

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  3. Oh my goodness I just LOVE how he shows up to work ready to DO THE THING!! You seriously picked the horse with the best. brain. ever. :D

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    1. thanks! you know more than most how much i tortured myself over the horse shopping process haha. every day i'm a little more relieved that it's working out this way!

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    2. Ha buying a horse is such a crap shoot at times glad you hit the jackpot!! :)

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    3. Such a crapshoot! You find one you like but it sells before you can see it... Or scheduling is a nightmare... Or you find one that's soooooo close but not quite... Or it's lame.... Honestly it was not my favorite activity!!!

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  4. I'm really impressed with his willingness and good nature. he'll figure his feet out eventually, and speaking from experience it's a giant pain in the ass when they're drama queens about touching the jumps.

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    1. yea the willingness and good nature bit is what really makes me happy. i mean, let's be real - even if he turns out to be not super talented, his size and general athleticism alone probably mean he's more than capable of doing the stuff i'm likely to really do given my own abilities/aspirations. all the same tho, i've got reason to hope he's got some latent talent in there lol

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  5. Aw, he's so good! Having the type of horse that lets you focus on the task at hand and just trusts you and does the thing--priceless!

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    1. Yea seriously! So far he seems to be pretty content with the job that's laid out for him!

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  6. Oh Charlie! You are so giant and adorable and slightly careless in a way that makes me giggle a lot.

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    1. "Giant and adorable and slightly careless" --> YUP that's him to a T lol

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  7. Yay for jumping! You both look like you're having a blast :)

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    1. He is definitely fun!! It's not exactly very complicated at this stage - my job is just to sit there and let him figure it out. So far so good!

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  8. Ah, the core struggle bus, I know it so well. Odin tends to be downhill so I am always getting yelled at for more core. I wish I had more core to offer! So many planks and reverse crunches are now part of my life.

    I think gymnastics are great for the greenies. So they can figure it out without you having to be too responsible. I have heard that solid CC jumps are great for teaching respect, although I haven't had a chance to do that myself.

    Gosh, Charlie is the best! So cute and a little derpy.

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    1. My trainer agrees with you about solid jumps being easier for green horses - they understand solid better than they understand poles and airy jumps. Which is partly why she likes building up the jumps so much with extra poles and fill. I'm definitely eager for our first xc intro tho!!

      And yea the core strength issue is REAL omg. I lost so much strength this past summer with not really riding as much and it's becoming pretty evident lol. Ah well. We just gotta keep working, right?

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  9. Yay Charlie! You guys are doing awesome! Not sure if you could set something like a chute up, but we find that free jumping the young/green ones a few times (say, once a week for a few weeks) really helps them figure out how to jump without the influence or balance of a rider. Seems to translate really well under saddle:)

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    1. Yup I'm definitely familiar with that concept - we did it with my friends' ottbs too.

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  10. Oh my gawwwwwd he is so cute! That canter looks so fun 😁

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    1. it is absolutely the most fun! i actually didn't think a whole lot of it when i first went to see him, but damn do i love riding it!

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  11. I second the jump chute! Super helpful for ponies to learn the ways

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    1. i'm glad to hear that's worked so well for you!

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  12. I'd be careful on building a jump chute, accidents happen, a Trainer was putting client horses through the chute one day at our old barn and the horse slipped, leg went through the fence, broken and dead. Sensational I know. Ramone used to dive down and pull me up too, I always wondered why my trainer wouldn't let me use a daisy rein like the smol cldrn got to use.

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    1. horses always do the craziest shit. i'm pretty happy with following my trainer's recommendations and practices since i've seen her bring along horses well and with confidence

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  13. Our trainers have similar philosophies for starting babies over jumps. Bridge used to smash everything too...now that she's figured it out she over jumps everything lol

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    1. ha yea it's so funny watching them get started! wick basically crashed through EVERYTHING constantly for the first ... while lol. but by the end of his time with brita he was cruisin around 3'3 courses with the occasional 3'6 or 3'9 oxer tossed in for good measure. i can only hope charlie will progress similarly!

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  14. Sounds like a perfect situation. :-)

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    1. i gotta admit i'm pretty pleased so far ;)

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  15. So glad to see you out and doing more lessons with Mr. Handsome! He's going to be quite a contender in the future

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  16. Love the fact that he's like "whatever, it's a speedbump. Just means pick the feet up a leeeetle bit moar".

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  17. I doubt I'll ever get over how cute this guy is! Love his attitude!

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