Man.... I'm so blessed. This weekend has been one of those weekends where I can't help but count my blessings. The weather has been beautiful!!! I didn't have to work (other than catching up on a few little things) and I got to ride both horses both days. Ahhhhh....
Danny and I are feeling pumped for the BN3D! (aside from the ever so slight nagging worry that his stifles are bothering him). We had an amazing dressage school yesterday and he felt so fluffy and soft. Then today we had a jump lesson with Kelly. I told her that I felt like he just sort of flops around the BN fences loping casually over them. I realize that they are easy for him and he doesn't have to try, but... I want him poppier and pushing off that hind end more. She agreed. So we did an awesome exercise.
We had a vertical set up with a canter pole before it. It was a decent sized vertical but not too bad. Kelly told me to ride to the pole and let him figure it out. It rode decently and she asked if I felt like he was taking a long spot. I told her that it actually felt pretty nice. So yay. So then we added a second pole. Egads... This is where it got interesting. The whole point was to get Dan poppier and pushing with the hind end rather than just... ha ha... Kelly had a demonstration of what Dan was doing... Picture Sid from Ice Age.... Her demo was hilarious. But exactly... he needs to learn to sit and push and pop rather than just float around. And he learned! The two canter poles eventually turned into 3. And it wasn't perfect every time. But he learned. I was to look at the pole and aim for it like it was the jump, then once we got lined up, look up to the trees. My job was not to help him... but to allow him to figure it out on his own. I could close my right leg to help with his right drift, but let him make mistakes. And he did. But the super cool part was that he also learned from his mistakes. He came in and floundered and then tried something different the next time. And by the end, while it wasn't perfect every time, he was bouncy and poppy and pushing!!!! So then we added another fence to see how smart he was. We came down the line of canter poles to the fence (oh and she added a canter pole on the back side too) and then we turned right or left and came back perpendicular to the line to jump a coop. The goal was to see if he kept the same poppy canter to that fence that he had with the poles, but without the help of the poles. The first time we totally failed! It was my fault and I abandoned him. We came around and I cut my corner and basically aimed him at the standard. Then I saw the long spot and just threw him away. So he chipped in and got over it but it was ugly. And soooooo far right it was insane we made it over without taking the standard with us. The second and third times were much better. And he still kept that poppy jump over it. :)
Kelly even said that she was impressed. She said that she's always been impressed with his flat work but his jumping always left her thinking "Well, he's young... ". But she said that she was thrilled with how he used his brain today and developed a fifth leg. :) She also said that this wasn't something I needed to drill, but once or twice a month would be great. She said this should be confirmed by the time we're ready to do our first one star. So we've got plenty of time. But there's no reason not to start progressing up with the expectations. :)
So yep... Super fun lesson. It was exactly what we needed.
Then I pulled his saddle and we had a nice bareback canter to the lake to play and splash and soak his legs. And of course.. because it was hot and we were bareback, he didn't want to swim. ;) We splashed a bit and then headed back in.