It was a luxurious, cool 90 degrees this weekend, so before I headed off to the track on Saturday, I went out to ride. On Friday, Levi and I went riding; he rode Moe (who was kind of a brat) and I rode Gina. I opted to ride Colt on Saturday morning while Anne worked Atut (and offered me kind advice, like “SIT UP”).
I was really impressed with Colt’s behavior in the barn. Last time I rode him, he had a nervous breakdown when Kyla took Cal out of the barn and Colt was left alone. On Saturday, he was a little distressed when Atut went out, but settled down fairly quickly and only whinnied a couple of times.
Once we were out in the arena, Colt was totally unimpressed with the jump standards. To my knowledge, it’s the first time he’s seen jump standards of any kind. He walked around them, through them, and over a ground pole in between them without batting an eye.
He managed to keep it pretty much together when Atut left the arena- I could feel him get tense, but we just kept walking and he eventually relaxed. Anne returned unmounted and we got to work.
I didn’t do much work with Colt before putting him to the ground poles. I wanted the whole ride to be positive, and poor Colter seems to inevitably have some mishap as the ride goes on. I trotted him for a few minutes in big loopy circles and serpentines, and put him to the jumps. The poles were arranged in a one-stride, and he trotted over them without a fuss. I had Anne put the back jump up to a crossrail. Colt trotted in, took a delicate canter stride, and jumped over the crossrail. He cantered away (on the correct lead!) and managed to repeat this feat another two times. Anne put the back jump up to a vertical that was about 16″ tall. We trotted in, cantered out beautifully.
Then Colter got a little cocky. I could tell he was thinking, Jumps? Ha! I know how to jump! I got this figured out! I best jumper in whole entire universe! So I took him to it again. He cantered in, totally mangled the distance, awkwardly hopped over the jump, and the pole crashed down. Anne swore he looked slightly ashamed.
With green horses, I like to let them sort most things out for themselves. I try to set them up for success, by putting them to fences that are a low height, at an appropriate pace, and then I try to stay out of their faces and off their backs. I find they build a lot of confidence this way and are able to think for themselves (and later take care of me if I give them a less-than-stellar ride to a fence). They always make mistakes, and Colter is no different (even if he does have a fancy pedigree and beautiful movement).
Anne put the jump back up and I put Colt to it again. This time, he was extra careful, took it slowly, and cleared it perfectly. He cantered away on the correct lead, and I gave him a big pat on the neck. I don’t know the last time I was so pleased with a horse.
As I was discussing our success with Anne, Colter propped up his hind leg and dozed off in the sun- but not before giving everyone in the arena the equivalent of a big horsey smile of pride. (Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.)
Next on our agenda? Both jumps up!