Sunday, January 15, 2012

1/14/12 Harley

Harley and I went to the arena. I felt brave, so I set up a tiny little crossrail. Lowest holes on my jump standards, means the middle of the "X" is about 12" up. I hand walked Harley over it, and he knocked the entire thing down.

Oooh boy, so that's how this is going to go...

After a little longing, I hopped on. Took him through walk, trot, canter, all on light contact. Asked for a little collected trot, with good results. A brief walk break, then back to trot. I pointed him at the X at trot. I clucked to him a ways back from it, and sent my eyes to the treeline beyond the arena over the X.

Here goes nothing. C'mon Harley! Show me Yer Stuff!

Hop. I was tickled. I giggled happy, and when he landed in canter (correct lead-right), I laughed and praised. A hearty few pats, and a nice settling back to trot. I was giddy. His first over-X, and it was perfect. No toe knocking, no overly dramatic "oh my gosh I better jump plus 3' so it doesn't eat me", just a little hop with both front hooves. We repeated this, both directions, 4 times. Each came with some more verbal praise. By #4 (both directions), he was stepping over it in the trot.

Huh,,, lazy as always, H.

Back up to canter, with the intention of only cantering on the flat, and calling him "done". Then, I did it. I looked towards the X, then looked up over it. Harley made a sharp turn, and started down the imaginary line to the X rail..

Uh Oh. Can't discipline him for going where I'm looking, and sure can't break gait, or he'll pick up a bad habit. When exactly was the last time I cantered over a jump? Ooh yeah, Ransom, felt like an over jumped sheer disaster. I did think I was going to die that day. I hope I know what I'm getting into.

Jump! Harley paused his feet just to get an idea what to do, then with a little kiss from me, jumped straight over the X. Landed, again, in a canter, correct lead. I let him canter a few strides, "shh"d him down to trot (verbal only, no bit), he obliged. I cheered, patted, praised, and laughed a while. Way To Go Harley! Good Boy!! How Brave are You, Mister BabyMan!

Knowing ya can't train only one direction, I sent him back the other direction at canter, aimed at the X again. Almost holding my breath, but trying to be consistent.

Up And Over. With amazing results, Harley did a plant & jump directly over the X. Fantastic. Not over jumped, no toes ticking the wood rails. Just up and over. More praise, a relax back to trot, and then walk.

I glanced at my watch. 45 minutes. No way I could ask for any more. I felt bad for asking for that much. We walked a while so he and I both could catch our breaths, and headed for the house.

Cookies, Cookies. Job well done, baby man.. Job well done.

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