Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ups and Downs

Fawkes and I seem to be on a bit of a roller coaster lately.  Not a big roller coaster, or even that really annoying Wild Mouse ride, but more like the little kid's mini roller coaster.
Lady, get to a point already or we will be here all night

The many faces of Fawkes
When I take a step back I feel confident we are moving in the right direction, but the last few rides have definitely been a mix of good and bad.  On the plus side, our flat work is coming along nicely.  My position and eq have been getting more consistent, and besides our inevitable first bad canter transition, we seem to have found a happy place at all gaits.

Over fences is where the inconsistency is still getting us.  Sunday he jumped everything but was spooking and bucking.  Today he seemed a lot more relaxed but had two stops.  We were working on a really simple exercise: 5 stride line on one side and single fence on the other side.

We warmed up over the single fence one way fine, when we turned around to go the other way he stopped in front of it the first time.  Then daintily stepped over (it was a tiny cross rail).  Next time around jumped it, but was definitely worried.

Even Fawkes can take a bad picture
Then we went into the line.  He jumped into the line at a trot fine, but was immediately worried about the second fence.  I spent the whole 5 strides trying to get him straight.  I could feel him sliding right so I applied strong right aids and he ran out left.  Damn.  Second time: he stayed straight but sucked back in front and then launched over. Third time: tried to run through.  Fourth time on: golden.  So we can definitely get there, it just takes time.  More time than is probably reasonable after two years.  Sigh.

 By the end of the lesson we were able to get some lovely runs through the line, followed by the single vertical.  R kept the entry into the line at a cross rail and the other two fences were about 2'3" (Side note, I just write down the heights so I can look back and see what we were working on.  Realistically, we will spend most of our time schooling in the 2'3" to 2'9" range, a little higher if I decide to pursue the 3' hunters.  I am not pushing for additional height right now).

We have also seen great improvements in being straight after the fence, something Fawkes and I have both found elusive historically.  I am pretty proud of that, small though it seems.  I just wish I could figure out what I need to do to make him a little less reactive the first time he sees a fence.  Eventually he needs to be able to consistently jump a fence the first time he sees it.  Or at least, that would be ideal!

But mostly so handsome.  I need to find an unwitting volunteer
to help me with that mane.
On a funny note, there was a puppy (leashed) in the ring during my lesson.  After Fawkes landed from one jump the puppy randomly leaped to the end of the leash, barking.  Fawkes took that as a personal affront and had a little hissy fit - half hearted buck, snort, bolt, flail event.  I don't think he was scared, he was mad at the little guy.  Silly horse.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it and keep chip chip chipping away.