Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cross Country Recap Part II - The TWH

When riding the course on Saturday with the App I kept my eyes open to the jumps noticing, with dismay, most of them are pretty challenging and not level appropriate for the TWH.  I chatted about this with the instructor and she didn't seem nearly as concerned, she thought there were plenty of jumps that would work. Saturday night was a blur of chores, seeing the boarder off with a new owner and falling into bed exhausted and wondering where the heck the day went. 

Sunday I awoke without near the enthusiasm as Saturday morning and found nicely sore shoulders.  Stretched my legs, just fine, stretched my arms, fine but those shoulders.  Every move was painful so down the hatch went an Aleve and some Advil.  Loaded up and headed out right on schedule.  SO was  nice enough to let the TWH graze on lush green grass as I checked in and got set up, he was gobbling that grass up.  We headed to ride and I realized not only are the shoulders sore, it appears as though my seat bones took a beating too and are voicing their protest.  Ugh!

We did a lot of warmup work, both for him and myself.  The instructor said I was painful to watch because I appeared to be so stiff and sore, blah!  Worked on stretches and relaxing and stretching and stretching until things were finally loose and we were ready to go.  The instructor set up a vertical at about 2'3" and said to pop over it.  I admit, I didn't actually see the height of the jump until the approach as she was setting it up as we were making a ginormous circle to the jump and I should have checked it.  We always start really small for the TWH and his tiny little brain and then move up.  We approached the jump forward and confident and then IT happened.  My boy who has never refused and is so honest pulled up at the very last second and refused.  First time in his life, to say I was surprised is an understatement.  The picture of it shows my face saying "WTH?!?".  After some very bad words and some pretty big frustrations vented we popped him over a crossrail and then back to a vertical and had a good warmup.

Too bad I have to work, there is GREEN grass!
We went and looked at a promising jump to start going cross country but I dismissed it as too big.  The instructor wanted us to jump a big ol log that the App and I had started with the day prior.  We walked over to it and showed him the jump and while he was slightly spooky he wasn't bad.  I picked up a nice forward canter and approached the log.  I rode very defensively with lots of leg and he did IT again.  He refused and tried to run out to the right  The picture?  Well my face shows a bit more of "WTF you MF'r" this time instead of total confusion.  We tried it a second time with even more leg and some growling and again he refused.  I told the instructor I was not going to present it a third time, I have a horse that hasn't ever refused and I am appalled he has started, we were going to find easier, smaller things as I was not going to let this refusing become a habit.

But mom, the water is cold!
We went and played in water, he found he could not only trot but also canter in water.  We were also successful in getting him to jump both in and out of water from a small bank. (Yay!  First xc jump!)
Big boys can jump in and out of water.  I am a big boy!
 We moved on and popped over a small log and then a small ditch.  He was being rock solid again so we decided to try jumping over a bigger ditch that the App had done yesterday.  After some intense encouragement he "jumped" it, landing feet first resulting in my ALMOST coming off.

Are you crazy lady?!?
Success however, working on my position this past week I think saved me as I was able to stay on.
Phew that was scary
We did it a few more times and while he would stop before jumping, he did in fact go over it so that made me happy.  We meandered over to some steps and I was curious if we could get him to go up and down them.  Steps are things you normally only see in eventing and I think they are damn cool.  When the App went up them yesterday the first pass he jumped the first one and then stopped.  He forgot he had other things to jump, it was funny.  A swift kick and he jumped the other two steps and then we didn't have an issue.  I brought the TWH to the steps and walked the zig-zag up them and then pushed him down the tiniest part of them to get him to understand what I was asking.  Finally got the nerve to point him at the stair and he jumped it!
Love this pic.  A little awkward but you can see he is giving a great effort
We were able to go up and down all of the steps, I was quite proud.

I guess I will be an eventing horse yet!
We were finishing the day over some small hay bales and subsequent wood pile, including trying again to get me to fall off by tripping immediately after the wood pile jump, when I decided we were having a good day.  Why don't we try that log again.  That one he refused.  He hasn't offered to refuse since, I want to end on a good note but I felt pretty positive his confidence was where it should be to jump it.  We looked at the log again and went to it and soared over it.  He jumped it like it was over 3 feet high but there was no thoughts of refusal.  I have no picture of the actual jump, this is the best I have.

I can jump logs!  I just have to be convinced first.
We learned a lot on Sunday.  We learned that despite all of our progress we do in fact have to take it slow with our white wonder.  We have to start small and build his confidence up and that he will refuse if presented with a question he doesn't think he can answer.  I don't know if I will bring him next month, I think it would be better to work on gymnastics and height and then maybe try again in June.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad it turned out well. I understand your worry of letting refusals become a habit. I'm glad he eventually faced his fear with the log jump. :) You have so much guts. I'd be terrified to jump that high lol.