I've had Bohemian for 2-and-a-half weeks, and we've successfully completed our first jumping course (trotting). Yes, there were only 3 jumps, and yes, they were so small he could have tripped over them (and he did). But it counts. And more importantly, everyone had a blast!
So here is the course. Jump 1 is the black and yellow crossrail. Then left turn to cavaletti with green flower box, then down and around to orange vertical. After we got around a few times, we did our first quasi-solid jump, a small white gate.
|Jump 3 vertical, disassembled. No standards.|
|White Gate (stand alone fence after course). Jump 2 cavaletti and flower box in distance.|
We are working on straightness during the last few strides to the jump. He likes to bend his neck one way, bend his body another, and cock his head. I feel like I'm riding a pretzel. With Spirit, when I felt her squiggle it meant a run out or refusal was coming and I would need to "shut the door" - ie, if she drifted right (normally accompanied by bending left), I stop it by adding right leg and half-halt on right rein to make her straighten up. Well it turns out this method (and habit at this point) is *not* appropriate for teaching an uber-green horse straightness. To get him to move his body left, I need to pull his left rein. Amazing. I'll have to work on that. Kind of embarrassing to say!
After each jump Hemie picked up the most lovely, light, uphill canter and carried himself with a bit more pride and perkiness. He understood from the pats and coos that he is just the best boy ever.
Before jumping, we worked on him moving off the leg in both directions. He moves off my left leg much more actively than he does my right leg. Something to keep working on. We also tried seeing if he would keep his tempo when I went from solid outside rein contact to releasing both reins, then picking up the outside again. He did pretty good, but its an exercise we will need to continue. He has a good tempo and we're teaching him to keep it even with change in contact. He is naturally responding to half-halts quite impressively.
This weekend we will have another lesson on Saturday and hopefully our first cross country outing on Sunday! I'm not saying "schooling" because I don't think we'll be jumping - just walking around out in the terrain, introducing him to water and hills and such. So far I haven't taken him on a trail ride. Not even hand-walking. The time has come for Hemie to meet nature!