Saturday, January 11, 2014

She has something special

So this weekend has started the big thaw, the temps were actually at or above freezing for the first time in while.  There is good and bad about it, everything is sloppy, slushy and wet.  The rain we are having has no where to go so my barn is flooding and so is the front of the arena, it sucks.  On the plus side I can feed the horses in the morning and can do it in a jacket versus my snow pants/heavy coat/thick hat/Inferno boots.  In that regard, it is really, really nice.  I wanted to try riding horses today however with a third of my arena being flooded and the roads being a compact sheet of ice (it hasn't thawed enough yet), it isn't happening.  I did go ahead and work Mia last night, though, before the rain came and flooded everything.  And I finally brought my camera :-)

I decided that since Mia's feet are a trim away from being normal, she is a comfortable 5 on the BCS and she has some balance in the canter now, it was time to see what she can do over fences.  I got off of work a little early on Friday and quickly set up a jumping chute and set to work showing Mia what it was about.  Despite not having someone to take pics for me, the pictures I was able to get make me really happy.  Ever try getting a horse to free lunge over jumps they have never seen before plus take decent pics?  Not.  Easy.  A lot of my pics are taken from video stills.  Every single one of the pictures came out with bad lighting and out of focus but it gives me a really good idea with what I am working with. 

I started by walking her through chute and having her step over the 12" crossrails.  After doing that a couple of times I unhooked her and sent her through at a trot.  While she looked at the jumps, she went over everything.  From there it was just time to start increasing the height.  I set the first/set jump at an 18" crossrail and the second as a one stride that was a 18" high vertical.  As she went through, she discovered it was much easier to squeeze between the wall and the standard than to jump the poles.  Nice, way to be smart mare haha.  Alas you must JUMP the poles. I moved the standards much closer to the wall and after knocking the standard down in an attempt to still squeeze in between the standard and the wall, she figured it wasn't that bad to go over the poles.

After a few successful jumps, I set it up to a 2' vertical and she jumped it quite nicely.  At 2'6" she knocked the poles down a couple of times as she started to figure it out but then started really jumping nicely. I moved it to a oxer to help her jump a little more roundly and I am glad I did, it helped her with some scope and made for much better pictures lol.
At 3' my eyes started opening wider, she was jumping very well.  There was the green moments where she would bring the whole chute down by either refusing the jump or knocking the poles down but overall things were very positive.  Additionally, every time she would jump well or at least give a good effort I would stop her and give her a treat.  Since she is very food motivated, I really think that made a big difference as she wouldn't get treats when she refused.  She wants treats! 
3 foot
When I moved the poles up to 3'6" she had her first bad refusal, she went into the chute but when she saw the fence and pulled up at the last moment, knocking the fence and then the entire chute down.  I gave her a pretty good slap on the rump to send her over the knocked down poles and then set about to putting everything back up.  I made the oxer a little more narrow and when I sent her through again I chased her pretty hard and she jumped beautifully.  After that, she made 3'6" look easy.

I sent her over a few times as she knocked the hind pole over with her hind feet a couple of times but after jumping clear 3 times I called it a night.  It was such an amazing experience, she jumped SO nicely and the pics and video I got prove it.  While I wish the pics were more clear and crisp, you can see her form which is exactly what I wanted. 
I am so happy with these pictures and they make me so very happy that I purchased her.  This is exactly the form over fences I was looking for in a horse and I think I hit the jackpot. 


  1. Look at those tucked legs! Go Mia go!

  2. OMG she's a gorgeous jumper! Those knees! Wow! I'm so happy you bought her and that she's such a great jumper! :D I can't wait for you to be able to start teaching her to do some jumping under saddle.

    P.S. Sorry I got so far behind again. I'm catching up so I won't be commenting on every post like normal, but I am reading all of them.