No Halloween costumes at the barn, on Sunday, but I did ditch a huge bag of leftover candy in the tack-room, for all to share.
Chief and I jumped this weekend. Our first real jump. We've previously worked over poles on the ground and then progressed to crossed poles. Today we had crossed poles going in, a half dozen strides, and then a small vertical. As we picked up our canter and rounded the end of the arena (both of which are recent accomplishments) I could tell that Chief had noticed something new and then I felt him decide that he could do this.
I've always worked horses on the lunge first, so that they became familiar with hopping over poles. This is not my horse, nor my establishment, and they don't seem to use that educational building block. Either way, a rider can never be sure exactly what an inexperienced horse is going to do when faced with an obstacle. A horse can choose a sudden halt; to look at the thing in its path; sometimes followed by the "Rocket Vertical Lift-off" approach, to get over it from a standstill. There's the "OMG, how Scary is that?" approach, with evasive maneuvers to right or left, before even getting to the poles, and there's the "Hippo-jump" of a horse who is willing but who doesn't usually have all four feet lifted of the ground at once.
The rider has to roll the dice and decide to sit tight in the saddle, to ride out any change of direction, or to be more forward to follow the momentum. I admit to being a defensive rider and I didn't want to go "out the front door" if Chief refused or dodged so I sat tight.
My good-natured horse did his best "Hippo-Jump", with a lot of upward energy. I caught significant air between myself and the saddle and, at one stage my finger-tips were at the very end-buckle of the reins. Luckily, Chief is a sizable target for a landing area and we managed to reunite on the way down, and stay together.
The photo above is of our second attempt. I committed to the more forward position and Chief had more of an idea what was expected. I'm so proud of him.
I did fashion a boot so that I could still walk my latest foster dogs.
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