Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Romeo Over a Real Jump

Chewie has one new shoe + Equilox. Back to work hopefully Wednesday on the lunge, Thursday thru Sunday under saddle. He looked pretty sad out in the pasture, and even tried to help Romeo a little, trotting & cantering down the straight fenceline, kicking up his hooves. I could almost hear Chewie, o O ( You can do it, old man... give it your best shot. Even if you knock it over, she'll try again. You can do it! ) O o

Robin caught Romeo while I finished getting changed, and groomed him up for me. Her & Mike believe he should have four shoes all-around for the preparation & show.

Long walk warm-up, with the wind whisling through the trees. We were thankfully protected from most of the gusts by the house, and trees around the area. When the gusts did blast into us, he wasn't phased, only side-passing a tad to get away from it. Worked on posting, sitting, two-point. Wore my new Ariat tall boots yesterday. My old pleather boots used to stick to the saddle, and I felt more secure. The leather Ariats? Yeah, they don't stick, they slide. After slipping all over the saddle, we finally got into a better rhythm. The posting trot was a tad harder to start, sitting much easier, and two-point was incredibly easier. Once I got past my irregular aids & chicken-wing arms, we got back to jumping.

Started with cross rails at the lowest height - about 13" in the middle. Romeo was Steady-Eddie, calmly trotting over with ease. I slid around the first few jumps, due to the new boots. Robin asked me after a few clean hops "You want me to put this up as a vertical?" I said, "Oh sure, why not.. it's almost windy enough to freak me out. Let's get it over with." [We measured it, and it was 21.5" from the ground to the top of the rail. Next hole in my standards will have us just over 2', exactly where I want to be comfortable before we show.]

Walked up to the jump, expecting him to at least sniff it & think about it. He didn't even look. And I froze. Had to actually jump off of him, and asked Robin to hop aboard & give him a look at it. I had lunged him over a fence last year, but never ridden him over a vertical. I had no idea what he would do.

Robin's first attempt, he knocked it over. Second, he cantered about a stride & a half away, and Third, clean, trot to & away. She jumped off, I hopped on, went back to flat work a while. We worked on a little inside leg to outside rein for easy turns & better bends. He wasn't incredibly cooperative, but some of that may have been his anticipation of the jump, my mind concentrating on the jump (rather than the ride at the moment).

Finally, Robin talked me into one hop over. I went opposite of the direction we'd been doing, afraid he'd tear into a canter & carry on down the road. We trotted up towards the barn, eyes up, up into two-point, squeeze, squeeze, pray, squeeze. I grabbed a wad of mane, gave him a loose rein, and stayed as upright as I could. Hop! Took him to trot after the jump, and trotted the corners afterwards. Gave the horse a big pat, and the rider.

For a cool down, we walked a bit on a loose rein, plenty of pats & scratches. Romeo enjoyed a little extra grain last night. His coat is shedding out nicely and just might be down to a thin pretty coat by the show. I can hope ...

Overall, a fantastic hour. I think Romeo's just right for learning to jump & fixing some confidence fear issues. He's very steady, not over-reactive, and calm, even when my heart is pounding out of my chest.

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