Red got to go to M's for a jump school on Wednesday. It was... not the chill ride that I'd had on Mo on Monday, but no one died or left the ring bleeding so all is well.
We did all the same jumps Mo did last time, but he's just a very different ride. Mo needs a little leg just as he sets his shoulder against the fence, but that's it. Keep the arms soft, keep your eye where it belongs, and you'll be fine (plus or minus a couple baby wiggles). Red, on the other hand, coils his spring against your hand, and M had to get me used to dealing with the way he wants to be ridden. The good news is, she has a horse just like him so she's used to it. The bad news is, she doesn't really like that ride, ha!
Here's how it works, basically: if you have a spring, and you want to coil it tighter, you can't just put pressure on it from one end or the other. You have to have some degree of pressure on both ends. So Red needs the leg set to just the right dial, and you HAVE TO keep your rein contact EXACTLY the same until he's in the air. And then land and be ready to ride so he doesn't root the reins out of your hands and run. The waterford will do for now, but I can see us in a running martingale and/or a bigger bit at some point, because he is a ton of horse to put together. On the other hand, I think he'll be easier to ride as the jumps go up. We'll see.
|Schooling at home--I'm pleased with his frame here.|
We had a bunch of stops, all because of some mistake I made in the degree of pressure on his sides or in his mouth (usually not enough). This kind of thing annoys me, but it's part of learning, and we didn't have any bloody run-outs. Victory. The one thing I'll whine about is that three or four strides out, he takes over, which makes it hard to keep everything exactly the same. I think we'll be able to fix this (and sometimes when the jumps go up it helps). I know he was ridden a little wild before I got him, and he's settled down a lot in general, so we are gonna have to see what happens.
The last thing I needed to fix is that when he started to launch those three strides away, my "don't get ahead of him" instinct led me to lean back, and that worked like bracing against him, so he'd just jump flat across the fence with no bascule and make the landing really gross. It went better if I actually leaned forward the tiniest bit when he did that, so I was just staying with him. Then he could jump around the fence because we were on the same page and he wasn't having to jump against me. If that makes sense. It sounds so obvious now when I'm typing it out, but on a horse I don't know super well when it comes to jumping and who's quite a lot to put together anyway, it felt like calculus.
|Still got a ways to go on the same frame in the canter but he'll get there.|
I'm not sure M loves Red as much as I do, but I'm hoping we can make a lot of progress this summer. It'll be good for me. And as tricky and sensitive as he is, he isn't dangerous, so I'm more than willing to work this out. Besides, I love the old dummy.
Our homework is mostly on the flat, getting more gears in the canter. But I'm also going to put a jump up at home and fix this problem before I'm getting hollered at about it again, so that next time M sees Red we have new problems instead of the same ones. Right? Right.