With our first eventing derby in a week and a half (!!!!) I figured it was high time to get back to jumping since we are going Beginner Novice instead of starter. Funny enough, the dressage is the scary part with TWH. So far, I am completely not stressed about the dressage test with Mia. Ha! I am sure that will change as the date draws near but it is how I feel right now. A very pleasant change.
I rode Mia in dressage on Monday and we ended up doing 20 mins of walk work reminding Mia that she is not allowed to keep 40 pounds of pressure on each rein as we walk around, that she cannot drift her shoulders, that she should not bump her outside shoulder out so that she runs my leg into the wall, that she should not drift her hindquarters out on a circle instead of bending and that she should halt and then stay still when she does so. For whatever reason Mia decided some of the basics had escaped her! After some arguing and redhead attitude being flung around, she settled down and decided that she might as well see what I do if she listened. Ah, mares!
After the walk work fixed most of the attitude issues, we actually had a spectacular ride! She is so consistent in the bridle now which resolves most of the issues we have been fighting so we may actually make some real training progress. Her canter required a little work to remind her that her head should not be in my lap but I am feeling good about the dressage work. I am going to ride her again this weekend a few times and introduce the dressage test, wish us luck!
Yesterday I figured it was time to start jumping so I brought RB4 over and we set up 2 small jumps on each side of my arena, one a 2' vertical that had 4 trot poles and one an 18" cross rail. Mia took the first time over as a warmup before settling into a nice rhythm and was jumping things nicely. My habit of slipping the reins over the jump is currently a really bad idea for Mia, she really needs the support after the fence and giving her free rein makes her either really speed up and take off or stumble and practically drag her nose on the ground after the fence. I am working on it, habits are hard and this one is actually a good one mostly.
After bumping her up to 2'6" over the trot poles, I had RB4 move the vertical up to a 2'6" oxer which seemed to surprise Mia but she handled it quite well. No poles being knocked down and no real rushing. Success! After a few times over that, I had RB4 move the trot pole jump up to 2'9", the highest we have ever jumped under saddle! Unfortunately it was too hard for Mia, she kept bringing the fence down until RB4 suggested removing 2 of the trot poles to give her more time to be ready. That seemed to do the trick as Mia then stopped knocking it over and would alternate between jumping it really nicely and jumping it with her hoof rockets being on full power. She would get in front of the jump and at the tiniest, slightest bump of the leg she would accelerate and try to canter the trot poles and then leap over the jump. We gotta fix that!
After finding the combo of absolutely no leg, lots of rein to balance on each side of the jump and staying slightly behind the motion, we were finally able to go over the 2'9" without knocking it down or letting the hoof rockets stay at full power. Feeling brave and having no value to my life, I had RB4 go ahead and raise the (super skinny) ascending oxer fence to 3 foot. Yes, 3 foot high! The highest we would have jumped by 6 inches! There was a ground line but no trot poles, it was all me to get her ready before and after the fence. The first time over she cleared it and jumped it like it was a little 2'6" jump!! I was very excited but the next time over she knocked the top rail. And the next time. And the subsequent 3 times. I decided to change it up and instead of riding her to the fence like the 2'9" fence, I would apply leg and see if that extra push would get her over. Well, that was apparently the right answer to clear the jump. RB4 said Mia lifted her knees so high they were above the horizontal and her hocks went almost in line to her stifles she was trying so hard to clear the fence. She also was in a flat hand gallop when we landed and it took me half of my arena to get her back to a trot! We walked around and told her what a good girl she was before trying again, again with lots of leg. She again took down the top rail of the oxer, hmmm she is going to be tricky as we learn this huh? I went one last time and didn't apply as much leg and and she did very well and cleared the what I determined was the last jump of the night.
I am not quite sure how to take her jumping, we obviously need more grid work to get her solid but at least she is jumping, not refusing, not ducking out and is ok with bringing the fence down instead. I would much, much rather have a horse bring a fence down than refuse. And the extra bursts of (extreme) speed she likes to give will do well on cross country. I am really looking forward to schooling cross country the day before the show, I think it will do us both really well and will be good confidence booster for her. This week is a good mix of dressage and jumping, so little time before our first jumping show!!