Yesterday was the best jumping lesson I’ve ever had on The G.
Anne set up four trot poles leading to a very small crossrail and a couple of ground poles about three strides apart on a diagonal. Gina warmed up well. She was totally unfazed by Linda using the tractor to put out round bales, Colt whinnying like an idiot, and flocks of birds settling and flying up from the arena. Her trot work was beautiful- all stretchy and relaxed and springy. We did a bit of canter work, but G started to get wound up. I couldn’t tell if she was irritated or excited. I decided to assume ‘excited’, because it was a gorgeous day and she felt great.
Gina trotted over the poles quickly, with big, bouncy steps. (Anne’s comment was “You look like a Saddlebred!”) She showed no hesitation or anxiety, which was definitely a nice change from previous jumping attempts. She was more than happy to bound over the tiny crossrail from a pleasant canter and even more willing to ease back to a working walk after jumping. She easily trotted over the poles on the diagonal. As we kept working, she seemed to develop a certain swagger– like she was saying This is too easy! Bring on some better stuff, lady!
We finally got to the point where we’d trot in to the crossrail, canter away, trot to the first of the diagonal, and canter through the second. Anne even used the mounting block to prop up one side of the second ground pole, and Gina sailed over it like a champ. I couldn’t be more pleased with her performance! Her negative, anxious attitude was totally replaced by an eager, happy one!
Personally, I think the hunter pace gave G a much-needed confidence boost. She successfully navigated a long and strenuous course filled with obstacles- and she made it! If she was feeling nervous about something at the hunter pace, her buddy Cal was right there to happily plow ahead and show her the way. I think getting out in the open, being allowed to gallop on, and feeling that her rider was at least going to give her a kind, decent ride did her a world of good.
Next week’s lesson is going to include a course of poles/crossrails (depending on how many spare buckets we can find)- I’m excited to see what happens!