Last night I had my first jumping lesson since last April, I was so excited and I think it paid off. The main goal of the lesson was to see where I was jumping wise, to see what H thought of the TWH's jumping and what she thought a good plan for our TWH would be.
I have been jumping him in a simple gymnastic grid, with trot poles to a jump to a one stride, I like it as it is a good training jump that encourages the horse to learn how to approach a jump and is a good foundation of learning. H said since we had jumped it for 3 days it was time to mix it up so she immediately took the entire thing down and moved it to be 3 individual, free standing jumps. She kept one jump on the long side, one jump on the diagonal and one jump on the short side.
After a good warm up, which she said she liked my two point position and was happy that I was equally weighting my stirrups (Yay!), she had me pop over a tiny 18" crossrail down the long side. She then had me do it second time, but this time to push the TWH at the jump and don't let him just hop over it so I did. That set the tone for the rest of the lesson. Forward. She raised it to a 2' crossrail and we repeated the exercise and with a good squeeze, he sailed over it without any issues. H raised the crossrail to a 2' vertical and put the jump on the diagonal as a 2' vertical and had us jump them together and as long as I stayed engaged and pushed him, he soared over the jump. As soon as I sat back as a passenger and gave him the responsibility of figuring it out, he would slow down to a collected canter and usually knock the pole with his hind end.
She then set the jump on the short side at 2'3" and put a barrel under it and had us come at it. The TWH cantered to it nicely but had a momentary lapse of thinking, almost stopped and then leapt over the whole thing. As a result I was been thrown forward from the abrupt tempo change and on the landing I tried really, really hard to fall off. With a pretty impressive effort, however, I grabbed some mane and hauled myself back into the saddle, letting gravity lick it's wounds from the defeat of my fall. H even said it was an impressive save and had me come back at it again but this time use even MORE leg and a good strong kick if needed. This time around I sat way back and drove him to the fence and despite being a little wonky at the takeoff, he jumped it nicely. H and I can only assume his first reaction was due to a weird shadow that was at the base of the left hand side jump but hey. At least he didn't refuse!
We played with the long side and diagonal jumps a bit more before finally bumping the long side up to a 2'6" ascending oxer. No big deal since we jumped 2'9" on Wednesday, but she made the jump almost 4 feet wide! I am a person for punishment and while I mentioned it was a bit wider then we have jumped, maybe ever?, I was game for it and the TWH soared over it. And I do mean soared, H said he cleared it easily with another 6 inches to spare in height and it was impressive the push he gave to clear the width.
The results of the lesson? I need to work on myself more, no big surprise there. While I have good equitation, I didn't pull his mouth at all and my lower leg is quiet over most of the jumps, when we go faster AND bigger my lower leg becomes unsteady. Not a lot, but enough that I notice and it isn't acceptable. I need to fix that. Why? Because H says the TWH needs to jump at a pretty steady medium canter, not the nice collected canter I have been jumping him in. I need to easily go 3mph faster in the canter to give him the impulsion to clear the fences with his hind end and to keep him at a jumping pace he is more comfortable in. Yikes! We have work to do.