Okay, so I'm having a teensy tiny bit of "going somewhere new anxiety". Not because Harley has ever been a twit off property, nor because he's a panic attack away from home. No, not the horse, but the rider. I get nervous in new places - Will I ride good enough, Will my horse match up with the others around, Will everybody watch me and laugh because I'm still learning? If you don't get these jitters, you're awesome.
Saturday, we rode good & hard dressage. I'm confident there that, at Training Level, we can hold up. Now, we hadn't done much jump work, just those ground poles at canter, and the occasional trot over X's days.
Today, I set up the low crossrail - it's maybe 12" off the ground, if that. Enough that Harley must lift himself up and over, but not a definite "jump". It's probably close to as high as we ought be in the dressage saddle. However, since we are supposed to have a jump saddle Friday to test ride, I wanted to see just how he'd do. It'd been MONTHS since we'd cantered over more than a ground pole.
Harley acted like it was no big deal. Trotted over three times each way, getting almost more lazy with each "over". I asked for canter-right, and sent him towards the fence. Harley hesitated a bit heading towards it, but nothing a little kiss from me and steady leg didn't fix. Hop! Second go-over, he stumbled hard about two strides away. I caught him somewhat, and added leg. He went a stride back to canter, and Hop! right over the jump. Excellent. Heading left, he hesitated and landed in the right lead. No biggie. Second canter-over, I could feel him thinking "do I toss in an extra small stride here, or just.. oh what the heck..." HOP. A big long, tall stride up and over.
Not one pole down. One time he bumped a pole with his front toes, but that was it. His ears were up and forward, and his canter was nice and big. Not a lot of me having to push, but instead, it feels more like, "staying out of his way".
We're nowhere ready to compete our jump work - NOwhere near. But at least, for a rank beginner who's had very little education over fences, we've come a long way.