Sunday, February 26, 2012

Looking sporty!

Maybe he really goes quieter in these ear bonnets, maybe I just think he looks cute in them, either way, he's now got one in black and one in brown, and I LOVE them!

He is sensitive about things tickling his ears when we ride. Even though we don't have much of a bug problem this early in the season, I do think it helped keep the wind out of his ears for yesterday's lesson. We had some crazy gusts! So the addition of the cute head gear, the jumping saddle instead of the dressage saddle, and the breast collar that I usually only use for cross country, all made for quite the sporty looking pony! Everyone commented!

Bear just turned 6 a few weeks ago, and since he's an adult, its time for him to get a job! We are officially starting over fences. YEAH! That was why I was looking so sporty for my dressage lesson. We worked on many of the usual things for the first part of the lesson, and then we took him through a gymnastic at the end. He was a little clumsy trying to sort out where his feet go, but he got the idea quickly. More importantly, he felt so relaxed and solid through it that it almost felt like he was already trained. Love it! It was still a cross rail of no more than a foot at the low point, but it was the biggest thing we've jumped so far, and he felt so good!

So we've gone about all of the possible options to prepare for jumping over the last few months. We've trotted tiny cross-rail courses, we've done trot poles, we've cantered over a pole on the ground, we've trotted logs on cross country and the trail, now we have finally jumped a beginner gymnastic (guide pole, cross rail, guide pole) AND added a second canter stride pole after with another little jump a few strides out. He's super relaxed about all of it! Next will be cantering in to the gymnastic and cantering a course of poles. I also think I'd like to free jump him again. I haven't done it for well over a year, and didn't jump him over more than 2ft then since he wasn't in great shape. I'd like to see his form over larger fences now, both to see what his style is like and to convince myself he's got the jump in him to later move up.

In the mean time, we are working on cantering conditioning at two point with the idea of working up to 5 minutes. I really need the work (right now ONE minute kills me!), but it has also been a big change for him to have me up out of the saddle. So we are doing lots of extend-collect transitions in two point to get him to understand what I'm asking now that I'm not able to sit down and use my seat.

I'm off to take him out on the trail now. Hoping he'll be quiet and sensible so that we can work on this canter excercise out in the open.

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