March 18, 2009

Clareville XC: Sam

Only having had Sam for a few days, I hadn't even had a chance to ride in a jumping saddle yet! But I'd popped him over a log at home in his dressage saddle and he seemed happy enough. I found him a bit more comfortable in the jumping saddle, I think, as I was able to get off his quarters occasionally if he was feeling stiff and let him sort himself out. We warmed up and popped over a few of the smaller XC fences and he was going really lovely over the fences. He has such a soft mouth too. He was being a bit naughty spooking or stopping after jumps, but that improved as we got further around the course. Certainly the jumps are no problem to him!
He got in under the larger chevron the first time we came into it, but then hit the right takeoff spot on our next attempt. He was also really good with the corner. It seems that if you keep him nice and straight between your legs he is happy to just lope into the more technical fences and pop himself over them.
He was a bit more reluctant about the ditch and we had to have a good look at it before he jumped over. The waterjump was perfect too - just cantered off the bank, through the water and up the other side. Nothing seems to phase him at all.
After jumping I could feel a bit more stiffness in him, but he's also not really jumped since January! So it will be a couple days of hacking/long and low work just to make sure he is 100% comfortable before we do more tough work with him.