Last night was my first jumping session since my failed attempt in November, where my knee blew up to the size of my thigh, and only second session since my surgery last year. I can say it was not only successful but I have recovered today without being any worse-for-wear. Yay!!
Unfortunately my arena is currently a collection of mishaps which results in an an area of 50x50 that I can use instead of the full 50x100. An almost 15x5 foot section in the front of my arena has had the base be washed away by the multiple floods so there is a sinkhole that is soft and unrideable and in the rear about 15 feet is taken up by hay and miscellaneous farm equipment. The farm equipment typically isn't bad to work around however since the hay is taking up the 3/4 of the back wall where the equipment normally lives, the equipment is now in a rectangle away from the wall that blocks more of the arena. Ugh! After jumping last night, however, I am more determined to resolve this so I moved a good bit of hay and at lunch will move the hay fencing to free up about third of the area that is currently taken. I just don't have room!! Hopefully in the next weekend or two I can fix my sinkhole and have even more of my arena back.
I am currently scheduled to have a lesson with H on Thursday. Since I am now satisfied with my two point I needed to start jumping so I would look like I kind of knew what I was doing again. Jumping was really hard to work on thanks to my arena predicament however I was able to squeeze (really squeeze) a simple gymnastic with 2 trot poles to a jump to a one stride. The TWH did really well trotting over the poles on the ground and didn't even blink when I raised jump 1 up to a measly 18". Yay TWH!!! I went over it several times before raising it up to 2' and he was meeting the jump well. At this point we had a couple of issues with the approach, he would try to canter into it instead of trotting but a very stern halt/back/kick forward fixed his approach. My position certainly isn't BAD but I don't think it is certainly GOOD at this point either, which showed later on. More homework!
I bumped jump 2 up to 18" and we worked on the two jumps for a little while, mostly for me to stay back and remember to close my hip angle over the jumps, and the TWH did well. He met the first jump well and was confidently stepping over the second jump so I bumped the second jump up to 2' as an oxer instead of a vertical. He tried rushing into the trot poles at a canter a few more times so we had the halt/back/kick discussion again, it also resulted in me having to hop down to reposition trot poles. Twice. After the third disobedience he seemed to decide it was easier to do as asked and trotted into the poles the rest of the ride without an issue. Sheesh.
For the finale I bumped jump 2 up to 2'6", this is what I consider our base schooling height. It is the max height for Beginner Novice, back in 2011 it was what I schooled over regularly. I pushed the TWH through the course for the first time and he seemed a little surprised but jumped it nicely. The second time we went through is when he started struggling. I didn't have anyone there to tell me what he was doing or to give input but it felt like he jumped the first jump, slammed on the brakes in the one stride and then leapt over the second jump. This is where my subpar position came into play and I *just about* came off. Geez horse, I thought we were past that part in our relationship!?! I went through again and was prepared so I didn't try to fall off, but the TWH repeated his behavior and I wasn't as balanced as I should have been. To my credit, however, I didn't touch his mouth and instead grabbed his long, thick mane to rebalance. Something I can't do with my poor App as he has no mane haha!
Since it felt like he was slamming on the brakes, thus throwing me way forward, before leaping, the next time through as soon as he landed over the first jump I give him a good hard kick and he soared over jump 2 without the abruptness. Success! We went through one more time with a good solid, hard kick to remind him to stay forward and when he jumped the second jump correctly I gave him a short rest. I can only think he started to panic and since it was big (scary?), he forgot how to properly jump it so he was leaping over it. I do remember a very vivid picture of seeing his knees coming up, which wouldn't be that impressive except I wasn't looking down and still saw them in my peripheral vision. I wish I would have gotten that on video, I am curious just how high he was bringing his knees those first few times!!
To finish I put him through the course 5 more times to really reinforce how to do it and to see if he would make the braking mistake again but he was a good boy and we ended on a really good note. I am hopeful for company tonight when I jump but if not then it isn't that bad because I have my lesson with H on Thursday. We are on our way to being real eventers!