March 04, 2009

Jump schooling

As it was a super sunny day, and the horses have a big weekend ahead I thought I'd take them down to the arena to get in some jumping schooling. Swifty came along again to man the camera so we could get some progress shots to see how the horses are all coming along. I'm heading up to Masterton this weekend and for many of the greenies it'll be their first time seeing XC fences! Scary.
Beau was really good about loading and travelling and heading somewhere different. He was a little spooky at first, but once he'd seen all the monsters around the outside of the arena he was fine. He's lost his huge tummy too - and is looking much more athletic!
He was a real dude when I popped him over the first crossbar - he doesn't rush or anything and wasn't at all bothered by the time off he's had since he last jumped. We did the crossbar a few more times then headed around the arena and jumped a few different things. I'd like to see him standing off his fences a little more - and a good run around the cross country on Sunday should help that heaps.
Neo was a right little snot on the flat - counterbent and ignoring me! So he had a bit of a telling off and we did lots of boring walking and trotting work on both reins till he was a little more responsive and soft.
His jumping, of course, was perfect. We got in a bit close to a few early on, but after I let him get into his stride he was happy to takeoff from pretty much anywhere. It's been several weeks since he's done any real jumping (aside from logs & banks at home) so I think he enjoyed the change.
Prince tossed a shoe last night, so I only did a short ride on him. He was very settled, even when warming up in and around the jumps. Hopefully he'll stay nice and laid back this weekend.
He's still jumping quite inside-out, but seems very happy. It will be interesting when he has a bit more recovery time and builds his muslces back if his shape over the fences improves. In the meantime I am trying to incorporate jumping as often as possible so that he doesn't see it as something to get excited about, just as something that happens.
I was stoked with princess today - softening really nicely at the walk and trot. Not the whole time, but most of the time she was really trying. I've been mouthing Zak recently, so sometimes I will also do some basics on Princess (not daily, just once or twice a week) and I think that's really helping her to accept the bit and a contact while she is being ridden.
Her jumping was so much better today too. She's beginning to push herself over the jumps and really building her confidence. She's never spooky at the fences, but does sometimes get distracted by other things (horses calling out to her or things like that). Hopefully as she gets more mileage over fences it will be easier for me to get her focus back on the rider quickly so that we can keep a good rythm into the jumps and get good straight lines too.
Devon is just being ridden around home until his new Mum can pick him up, and Pippa is out on the back hills at home at the moment - eating the lush grass in the cow paddocks (seeing as we currently have no cows, I figure it shouldn't go to waste!).
Zak is coming along slowly, but really well. He is wearing his roller most days with the elastic side reins either for a short while in a yard while I groom or feed the others - or some days he goes out to be long reined up and down the driveway. He's still a bit pushy on the ground, so I will sort that fully before I even start to saddle him up and back him. I'm really pleased with his progress though. He looks like a real horse with his bridle on!