Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
• Horses: 0
OP, you absolutely should ask for the canter on a circle. That is why the tests allow you to pick it up in the corner. As for the jumping, remember that jumping to height is not all there is. You should be comfortable jumping TABLES on a downhill slope or whatnot at that height, not just a little vertical in the arena. It sounds like pre-BN is the way to go. The lunging transition work, as long as you don't overdo it and properly warm up the horse, is a great way to get him confident and strong enough to pick up the difficult lead. Don't jump more than 2-3x week (really ever) and just relax as far as fitness. If the horse has been in regular riding wtc with the odd jump he should be fine for pre-BN.
Also, I know Jaydee suggested some jumper and dressage shows--and it's a good idea. Get some miles at both, and go to the h/j shows and just focus on a smooth round. Sure, your horse isn't going to win the 3' A circuit classes, but a smooth, forward, steady ride will place at a schooling show. But just go for fun, for the show miles, etc. However, don't skip the derbies. Certainly don't do them if you are not ready, but for the video you posted as long as the horse is still being ridden regularly you can't go too wrong doing a derby.
However, if you go out for several days, don't go! I am not of the opinion your horse needs interval training at the level you are doing--or even through novice. Once you go Training and up, maybe, or if you are riding something that has trouble getting or staying fit, but for now, don't stress about that. I also am of a different opinion on your weekend away. You aren't looking to go to the Olympics. If you want to go out for a weekend, you aren't somehow not dedicated. Even Olympians go on vacations. However, it is not fair to your horse to do a show straight after a few days off. Find the balance and the timing. Weekends out and shows can both have a place in your life--just not back to back unless it's in reverse order!
You do need a better coach than the hunter trainer you described. While you don't want to pull on a horse before the fences, dropping him is not the solution. He was rushing because he was unsure and unbalanced. It sounds like your current coach has a better clue. However, don't write off all h/j coaches for the future!
I agree on the grid work and such, but ultimately it's a balance issue and a confidence issue. For that reason I don't believe you are going to benefit from just doing grids. Your flatwork and work with your coach is what will solve your problems. I would be leery of turning off or stopping before fences. There is a time and a place for each of those things. Hopefully you are doing them with the supervision of a coach.
While jaydee is right about collecting and bringing the horse to the fence, that's putting the horse before the cart. You FIRST need to put your leg in the correct position, then learn to put it ON the horse. Only then can you use it effectively. Until then don't think about collection. Since collection comes from behind and from your legs, you cannot get it yet. Thinking about collecting now will only make you use your hands and work front to back. Don't worry about collection right now. Focus on getting your leg on and learning to use it.
Keep us posted!