April 28, 2013

In Which Connor Free-Jumps Himself - With Videos

Connor was so wet from rain after I finished my stalls today that I didn't feel like tacking him up, so I took him into the indoor for some lunging and then free lunging.  I wanted to work on walking up to him at liberty and controlling his body from afar (still working on the hard-to-catch thing).  He started out careening around the lunge circle like a crazy man, so I put some poles and then a small crossrail in his way.  After he'd done that twice, I turned him loose and sat down in a chair for a few minutes while he walked around.

Next, with the crossrail still set up on the rail at H, and Connor all the way on the other side of the arena at F, I gave him the same verbal cue to trot that I do on the lunge.  He turned around and trotted down the long side, then the short side, then took the crossrail all by himself and cantered away.  I was nowhere near the fence and did not encourage that in any way.  Even better, he kept going and came back around to it, taking it two more times on his own before taking a break.  Here's a video of his last and best attempt, landing on the correct lead and throwing in a sassy head toss afterward for good measure:

It was fun finally getting to see him jump (I'm always riding!), to see that he enjoys it enough to do it of his own volition with no encouragement, and to see him work out distances on his own without me helping him out.  After he did it himself, I asked him to do it a few times to cement the 'I control you at liberty' lesson.  On his third attempt, he took it too fast and didn't turn early enough, and ended up jumping the highest part of the jump by the rail, knocking the rail down, but he clearly learned his lesson because after that, he never made either of those mistakes again.  Video:

He's learning!


  1. He is so freaking cute! And what a nice jump he has. That's really neat that he jumped so happily all on his own.

  2. Good boy! A joy to watch a horse who loves to work.

  3. Good boy!! Love the indoor at your barn! I was free lunging my gelding outside a couple of weeks ago and there was a cavaletti along the rail - I was hoping he would jump it, but he dodged it every time! I guess he is well suited to his western disciplines... :-)

  4. You have such a nice indoor! He looks great.