Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jumping Lesson!

Allegra took a jumping lesson on Halo yesterday! I'm glad she did it, because I'm still a little leery of jumping anything over 12" and I don't want my anxiety about it to be part of Halo's early experiences. I'd rather let Allegra get Halo comfortable with the basics, and hopefully after that I can take a lesson myself. Here are the details from her email.

First she had me do trotting poles, halting towards the end the arena, doing a turn on the haunches and trotting back over. She said to help Halo get her distances - look when we would meet the pole and shorten or lengthen her stride to meet the poles. 

After that we did a line with two small cross rails. The first fence she took big, the rest were pretty small. Stephanie said to make sure Halo is forward and that I rest my hands on her neck so even if she goes big I don't catch her mouth - that it is especially important to give them good experiences starting over fences. Also important is to stop once she gets it totally right so she knows what we are looking for.

We did that line trotting many times, stopping at either end of the arena. then changed to trot in canter out. Results were mixed, but once she figured out what I was asking and I gave her enough leg before taking off on the first one she got it. She did duck out once to the right and tried another once or twice to dodge the second jump, but we went over messy instead.

After that we added the purple line, again trotting in and cantering out. I got off around 12:30 and she was barely sweaty even though I was exhausted. I had Stephanie help me make more holes in the stirrups, so they were nice and short and my ankles were feeling it. She did go fine in the dressage saddle and I felt comfortable in that in half seat and two point, so not sure if I'll try the other saddle or not. 

She was great picking up the canter after the first jump and keeping it around the arena. Stephanie said to be very aware of the lead so she doesn't get used to being on the wrong one, and to mix in elements of a real course even if we're just doing one line, to push deep in the corner, have the correct lead - sometimes keep it and sometimes go down to trot, turn as if you are going to another jump - sometimes tightly, sometimes wide. So pretty much how we are preparing her for a dressage test on the flat.

Halo was awesome and I encourage you guys to try it. Once we started doing poles and fences her whole attitude changed from just warming up doing flat work, she was more engaged, picked up gaits more easily after taking a break - when I asked her to canter as a rewarmup after walking she got it much faster. I think she is really going to enjoy mixing this into the routine and it will help her flat work a lot, and I know I'm going to be feeling it tomorrow, so it will be good for my position too!

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