He is totally new to jumping, and I had a 'downer' night the other night when jumping. I just felt really off, and he felt awkward. I decided that it was back to ground poles and teeny tiny crossrails to build back his confidence, and hope to clear these little issues we're having.
But today, holy cow! A friend and I took the horses over to a local stable, where you can pay to use their facilities. They have a super nice Hunter/Jumper arena full of jumps (water well jumps, gates, planks, roll tops, flowers galore, etc.) and a full cross country course.
I normally lunge him before every single ride in side reins. But since he unloaded so quietly and stood completely still while I tacked him, I started to lunge him & he was SO soft and so attentive, that I just got on him.
WOW was he great! He came right down and stretched for me, and never spooked or even threatened to bolt once. Then we jumped the plain, boring wood jumps. At first he tried to evade them, but I put him back on his butt and asked him to round before the fence, and he gave up dropping his shoulder.
SOO, took him to the hunter/jumper ring, lowered some to 2' - 2'3, and he was PHENOMENAL! Only refused one, and yes, it was my fault. I dropped my leg three strides out and he took advantage of it & dropped his shoulder to run out. My fault.
But as long as I stayed calm & confident, he did too! He was a perfect gentlemen, and even cantered a five-stride line, while staying on the right lead!
At the end I got even more confident and cantered him up to a 2'9 gate. I am certain it was our best jump to date. He cantered right up to it and didn't OVER jump it like he tends to. He jumped it perfectly, and I stayed right with him. (No more jumping out of tack!)
I am so happy & proud of my baby. He is a fresh 5 year old, and completely new to this stuff. He used to have a tendency to be spooky/hot but it seems like this past couple weeks I've been working him he's really mellowed out, a lot. A few weeks ago I would have never dreamed he'd be this good today, doing something like this.
Watch out shows, here we come!
Thanks for reading my novel!