We got our first jumping lesson in over a month last Saturday! Laurie can't drive yet (shoulder still recovering) but her dear friend Debbie brought her to the barn and graciously acted as jump-setter too.
We set the jumps fairly low (+/- 2') but I must have still been a little nervous at first because I had a hard time giving him the reins on approach and properly releasing them over jumps. We settled into normalcy soon, though, and I could tell Hemie was happy because he was trying to lock onto every jump!
We did 2 exercises: first was our old standby of getting more or less strides in a line. We did a 2-stride vertical to oxer in alternating 2 strides and 3 strides, both directions. Then we worked on doing some tight turns directly after fences, and we had no problem. Hemie was a rock star. By the end of the ride we just were adding jumps left and right, no set course, just free flowing through all of them.
Laurie paid us the huge compliment of saying "you are so ready to move up" which is good since I had already mailed in our entries for the Galway Downs winter HT in February for BN!
Laurie can't do weekday lessons yet, so we've been dressagin' on our own still. I've been doing exercises from the Dr. Christian Schacht clinic, focusing on using more seat and body and less hands. I'm working on finessing the canter cue as well as keeping the right lead when bending right (so hard for Mr. Ex-racehorse!).
One concept promoted by Dr. Schacht (and also Chemaine Hurtado back in March) stands in fairly direct conflict with the approach Laurie has me do: and that is whether or not to ask the horse to get on the bit right away in the ride, and with the help of rein contact/half-halts. Laurie has me asking for contact and shape right away, using rein squeezing in addition to inside leg, whereas Dr. Schacht and Chemaine promote patience and having contact arise organically through bending exercises.
My dear readers, kindly please share your thoughts and methods for when and how to get your horse on the bit! What do you think of these 2 approaches?