I was going to do a dressage ride when I tacked the TWH up however when RB4 came over, she said she really wanted to see us jump instead. Uh, okay, I am flexible. Let's jump! A quick tack change got us ready and we headed to the arena. We set up a small course (because my arena is tiny) that consisted of an oxer along one wall, a vertical on the other and a vertical in the middle on an angle.
We warmed up alright, RB4 said he wasn't trotting the best but was okay when I was pushing him in contact. TWH didn't feel super connected and was sloppy in his trot/walk transitions but I also wasn't riding with contact or collection so I dismissed it and finished warming up at the canter. I started our work by going over a small 18" crossrail and it just kept seeming like he wasn't meeting the jump right even though he should have. We set the oxer up and when I pushed to the jump, TWH would still not jump properly, adding a stride or taking an extra step before jumping. This is what he was doing last year when he was actually injured and we dismissed it as inexperience or disobedience, this time after trying to jump for about 5 mins, I hopped off and we gave him a good inspection. The only thing we found was the inside of his right hock was very slightly warm and may have had very slight fill when compared to his left hock. He would also very lightly drag his toe in the dirt when walking. That was enough for me to call the ride, I threw him in a stall while slathered in poultice and given bute for his trouble. Oh horse, at least we don't have anything going on. This morning he looked significantly better and wasn't dragging his toe. I couldn't tell if he had any heat or not (likely not) but he still got more poultice and bute with breakfast. I am not going to mess around!
After putting TWH away, I figured since the night was still young I might as well work another horse so I grabbed Mia. I also grabbed my new jumping bridle with another new bit, let's see if she likes an eggbutt better. After a quick warmup I pointed her at her warmup fence, a tiny 12" crossrail. She jumped it a bit big but nicely and we moved steadily up from there. A 18" crossrail became a 2' vertical and the oxer became a 2' oxer with a 2.5 foot spread! When I can get Mia to the jump at the correct distance and speed she jumps REALLY well. Our current task is getting her to be just a little flexible, she needs to slow down in front of the jumps overall and to also listen to the speed I request to get her there. She already has the "locked on" feature and once she locks onto the jump, she wants to just GO.
Our final test of the night was getting her to jump her very first solid obstacle, we put a barrel under the middle vertical and I set her up to jump it. She looked at the barrel in a confused fashion and tried to go to the left and then tried really hard to go to the right, around the jump. I was able to keep her pointed at the jump and she came to a nice stop. Thankfully it wasn't a dirty stop, just one of her fairly typical "I am going and I want to stop now so I just stop" stop's but it still warranted her getting into trouble over it. She got a yank on the rein and a couple of boots with a spur and when I presented it a second time she jumped to the right and twisted over the jump, but she did it! Her very first solid jump was easy and didn't have any shenanigans! We went over it a third time and it was ok, the fourth time I half halted her with my seat to set her up and she listened(!!!), we met the jump perfectly, she jumped perfectly and I called that a night. What a good mare!
I was very pleased with this jumping session. She seemed to like the new bit, success! She also hadn't actually jumped off of a grid before and she saw things she hadn't ever jumped before like an oxer and a barrel. She still needs to learn how to control her speed and to let me help her place her to the jump but she was amazing. Cross country schooling is this coming weekend, let's see what we can do between now and then!