So my good friend, K, came over last night to help me jump school Dahlia for the first time. Ok, not the first time but the first “serious” time. I wanted to have some eyes on the ground, someone to give me some feedback and discuss anything that came up, as well as someone to set fences in case the heights needed to change or we knocked one down. It just makes life so much easier!Had a decent warmup, we are both figuring out this slow and pushing trot thing, I am now not in danger of spontaneously combusting from using so much leg and she is learning to carry herself just a bit better…or at least that is how it feels! I suppose our next lesson will tell me how well my feel is developing on her. Our canter was MUCH calmer than it was in our lesson, we have really been working on smoother transitions (they are still not at all smooth) as well as her learning to deal with my outside leg being back guarding her haunches.
We didn’t do anything too terribly exciting or difficult for our jump school, a few lines, lots of trotting jumps, lots of placing poles both on take off and landing. Nothing was much higher than about 2’3″ maximum but the idea was more that we learn to work together as well as getting her to sit and rock back before the jump and then keep those shoulders up on landing. As in all things she loves to fall on the forehand and get into a rambling, rolling, long-legged, unbalanced gait. Jumping obviously exacerbates that so out came the placing poles. The main goals were: quiet, keep those shoulders up a bit more, and for me to not get too in her face but keep the control from my seat/core/legs. Goals 1 and 2 were definitely met, 3 was a bit more difficult but hey, we always need things to work towards!
We then moved on to some lines, did this little 6 stride line a few times, my main goal was really just to keep my leg on and hands soft, allow the placing poles at landing and takeoff to do their job. Should we eventually be striving to sit more and be a little softer? Absolutely. But for a fun play day when we are both still figuring each other out I was pleased. We will do a lot of grids in the future and lots of pole work to help her build the strength and balance to eventually be able to be adjustable.
All in all it was a fun little jump school. I need to learn to keep those darn elbows bent, not put my hands so low, and follow a little better but Dahlia was a gem. I think it will just be a matter of building strength and continuing to improve our communication and we’ll be cooking with gas 🙂
Anybody have any favorite grids or other exercises to build strength and balance when jumping (and flatting)? I know the more we work on the flat the better we will get but I want to keep it interesting for the both of us!