First a flat with Thomas, gotta remember to shorten those reins and keep his pole up!!! He felt like a real-live upper level horse for a few strides in the canter, but couldn't hold it together for long. Those few moments were amazing though! All us riders have to live for those moments, because a perfect ride from beginning to end does not happen often ;)
I then ran back to the barn with Thomas to get Lusty for a jump lesson, she was so thrilled to get the short flaps on.
Raised pole, one stride, pole with 7 feet to a large 4 ft oxar! Lusty turned herself inside out to not touch the poles it was amazing. If that's not difficult enough, Buck set up a skinny 4 strides after the oxar VERY close to the fence of the arena. So we either turn or.....run into the fence and learn very quickly to turn earlier. We got through the exercise every time, but lusty was against my hand to the skinny. Buck asked me to hold onto her more with my reins overtop the oxar instead of a relaxed release, and it worked well. She landed listening much better and made the 4 strides really relaxed.
Right after Lusty I jumped on Atlas for a jump lesson. We were in a group with several of Buck's working students, one of them riding Albert, one of Buck's 2 star horses. Might I remind you Atlas has been off the track for 2 months, jumping cross rails. I was slightly concerned....
It took a couple tries to get atlas through the exercise (same as lusty was jumping!) But once he figured it out he jumped it great! He even did a grid which ended in an oxar with 2 barrels standing up on end underneath! Needless to say Atlas grew up in a big way today. In Buck's words "Can't just flat these young ones forever, or you never get that 'come to jesus moment you just had'" Im very proud, and he is very exhausted ;)
After a marathon jumping session, I had one more left to jump: Fizzy! We started with some lengthen canter on a circle, me sitting slightly more in the saddle (just barely touching) than usual, with short reins, and knees bending each step to tap her sides with my heel. This asked her to canter forward and take the contact. We then collected, still tapping with heels, to energize her hind legs without letting her stall out behind. We started jumping the same exercise as the other two, getting her very close to the pole in front of the large oxar, then using that tapping heel to get her off the ground quicker. She was just amazing, I have never felt her jump so well! She jumped so big over one I was not sure I would come down the other side of the jump in the saddle or on the ground! This way of riding her is working so well I can't wait to see how Fizzy likes it.....
CROSS COUNTRY SCHOOLING TOMORROW MORNING!
That all folks, laundry and gin n tonics call!
Jump like you mean it-W