Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pony's first jumping lesson - video!

I'll just get to the good stuff first:

On Saturday I was supposed to go take Princess Fancy Pants to my friend's ranch for a visit. The logistics didn't work out because it was to be a very hot weekend (and it was so I'm glad I didn't go, although I missed the fun) and I had to make a decision early enough to cancel the house sitter. So I got out for an early ride and decided - what the heck? Colin's at a bike race, I'm here by myself, what better idea than to jump the pony for the first time?

I deployed her tying skills and tacked her up and left her tied in her stall while I went and set up the exercise. I went on the trail out back because it is shady back there in the trees. I picked a nice path that was flat and had good footing, was a little in the shade (actually a mental exercise for the horse to go from light to shade to light) and had trees on each side so if I pointed her at the jump she couldn't go around it.

First I set up two jump standards and three poles. The poles were set so that there were two poles set at a trot stride. Then there's a trot stride with no pole (when I put up the jump that defines the take-off space), and then a ground-line pole is set up between the standards. The ground-line pole also helps the pony decide where to take off for the jump. When I get to jumping, all those poles will still be there, and a cross rail pole (looks like an X if you are headed toward it - the horse jumps over the lower part which is in the middle) will be added one at a time.

Pony was so good! We worked on it in a progressive way. First by walking through the poles, then by trotting them, and then going the other way just for fun (although I'd only do the jump one way). Then I put up one side of the cross rail and went over that and she did a little jump - it was so fun! I did't know what to expect - if she'd try to go over the low side of the pole versus jumping over the middle part where she's supposed to - or if she'd try to stop or duck out or what. But she was totally game and went right over the middle of it! We did that twice and then I put up the other side of the cross rail so that it was an "x" and rode over that and again she was great! We did that twice and then called it a day.

In between all of the pole/jump (if you can call it that, it was so tiny!) work we rode around my trails/track and did some walk, trot, and canter, and staring bug-eyed at the neighbors playing soccer in their back yard. So she got a full workout, the video just shows two minutes of pole and jump introduction.

I'll probably add little exercises like that into her routine once a week. So Tuesday, hack; Thursday, lesson; Saturday, hack/jump; Sunday, trail ride. A good schedule for a young girl, I think.

I'm so proud of her!

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