So things have been very silent over here because I haven't done much riding. Preparing to sell our farm has taken a LOT of time and it isn't leaving a lot of time for much else. It is now, sadly, on the market and things have slowed down so I have finally got back to riding. Which is good since we have our second Horse Trial of the year on Sunday. Yikes!
After our poor showing at the beginning of the month, I took a lesson with a new jump instructor, B. It went remarkably well, she had us going through all sorts of crazy stuff. She is big on jumping angles and skinnies and we did a lot of that. She saw Mia's habit of stretching DOWN with her head during the jump and agreed I needed to try to stop her. Mia puts her head way down which gives her tons of rein and is doing it for balance. At least right now, she doesn't have the balance or education to be able to maintain herself after the jump with her current tactic and she certainly has problems with combinations as a result. If I hold her over the jump, she will (and does) rip me out of the saddle to put her head forward and down. If I let her go over the jump, she will likely accelerate quickly upon landing. If I let her before the jump, she will likely jump flat and knock things over. The compromise is that I am holding her to the fence, giving her the rein to do what she needs over the jump and then pulling her up immediately upon landing, even if she fights and makes it look super ugly. Fun! B also said I should not change bits and should keep going in the snaffle. I am sure that is the best way to go, I still had hoped for an excuse to bump up. Ugh baby horses.
Mia then had a week of a break before we kicked off again. Our first ride back was dressage and she was heavy, heavy, heavy. She had no desire to really bend but wasn't all that bad. Our second ride back, however, ugh. Mia decide she could not horse. Cantering to the right was something that only other horses could do, not her. Consistent trotting was out of the question. It was either slamming on the brakes or going forward with so much gusto that she is very clearly rushing and completely ignoring the aids. And leaping. There was leaping involved when I had the audacity to ask for an upward transition. Fun. Not. We rode for almost an hour and a half before we got some semblance of a normal trot and canter back with Mia being halfway decent. Not good, just halfway decent. At least no one died, right?
Our ride Wednesday was much more productive, Mia remembered that she COULD horse! She COULD canter both directions, she COULD trot, she COULD bend, she COULD listen to my legs. Oh my red mare, how fun you are :) We had a pretty decent dressage ride and called it a night. Last night, however, was awesome. We had a fitness/jumping ride and Mia was on it. I set 2 stadium fences up outside, a barrel on its side outside and created a "xc" fence out of some logs in the pasture. After warming up, we trotted immediately outside and over the first stadium fence cold, no letting her see what we were doing but just immediately trotting outside and directly to the fence. Mia was awesome and jumped it with no hesitation. We then jumped the stadium fence to the barrel and she was perfect, no wiggles at all! We then jumped the two stadium fences at an angled 3 stride and she, again, was perfect. We jumped combinations of all of them several times before trotting down over the hill to the xc fence and just went to it. No showing it to her, just going. She did look at it but went forward to it with virtually no hesitation at all. Yay mare!! The last jump course we did was over the angled stadium fences, down over the hill to the xc fence, back up the hill and I was going to go around the barrel and go to the stadium fence. As we approached the barrel, she locked onto the barrel, shifted her entire body to the right for 2 strides and jumped the barrel. On her own! None of that was me!
I am very optimistic after last night's ride, I think maybe, perhaps maybe my jumping machine is back? She is still throwing her head way down and I am still fighting to keep it up but the fact that she had zero hesitation over any of the fences AND course corrected herself so she could jump a 4 foot skinny barrel that was just laying on the ground (with no standards) makes me very happy. We have a dressage ride tonight and probably tomorrow, let's hope things go well for our show. Thankfully all the crap the mare has pulled over this past month is overshadowed by her two good rides :)