I've been wanting to jump for a while, but my trainer isn't going to let us jump unless Connor is having a good flatwork day. Every time he jumps needs to be a good experience. So I've been flatting in my jump saddle for a few rides in the hopes that we'll get the green light.
On Thursday, she said we could jump. And maybe we shouldn't have.
He was going great, but he was spicy. The green lights from the Pixio in the corners of the arena still bother him, as did my trainer's ski pants, a dog barking outside, the sound of sand he kicked up hitting the pipe gates...you get the idea. But he felt SO good, and the last couple of times I've popped crossrails on him by myself he's been so chill, I said let's try it.
We didn't start with that X. We first did a line of ground poles. That went reasonably well.
But the X woke him up, and, like that day in the XC field last year where I just had to canter him around the field until we took the edge off, I could tell he needed to burn off some energy before I'd get anything productive out of him. So we did.
I had some things to work on while he was getting his brain back beneath me, because right now we're working on my hands in the canter, which are at least partly to blame for his dolphin-ing. My trainer says I tend to take back on each stride, and I need to feel like I'm giving forward on each stride.
For a comparison, the canter in my lesson two weeks ago (yes I'm wearing the same outfit, I have an intentionally sparse collection of winter riding clothing so you'll see lots of repeats now that we have the Pixio!) Note the head bobbing.
The next GIF is from our lesson this week, toward the end of our "get your energy out" canter. Notice that there's so much less head bobbing - something I've also noticed in my trainer's videos. She had me focus on keeping my hands low and thinking of moving them forward with the downbeat of the canter.
The most amazing thing about that long canter (which was over five minutes of straight cantering with a couple of direction changes, thanks Pixio!) was realizing just how strong he is right now. The canter was so balanced (for him) the entire time. That is in large part to his full training month - my trainer worked really hard on the canter, and it made a massive difference.
As he got tired, he still held it together well, though he began trying to break to the trot. I made him keep cantering until both ears were on me, even as we went by the green lights. Then we popped that crossrail like a normal educated almost 11 year old (HAHAHA) pony and called it a day: