Monday, November 14, 2011

Perfect Hunter Pony Has Returned!

Last week Satin and I had a fabulous lesson! As Satin has come further along in her jumping training, she has been slowing down over the jumps and going around more like a hunter. The last couple of lessons however, she reverted back to jumper pony and was a speedy gonzales through the courses. Also, last week Renee and I decided to up her grain ration to two full scoops of sweet feed at each feeding, in order to help put some more weight on her. She is a little horse so I figured this new feeding program would add to her hyperness over the jumps.

Luckily for me, it seems to have had the opposite effect. In our lesson last week (the first since the diet change) she jumped like a perfect little hunter pony. We have been working on developing her trot which is much better. We also worked on my position at the trot which needed some tweeking. Then we worked on two point at the trot and canter which in Renee's words was "perfect" which made me quite happy.

As we cantered around going from our normal seat to two point, Renee had us pop over a simple white vertical, just using it as part of our circle. She had me go up into the two point as I approached the jump so all I had to do was release as she went over, since I was already up in a two point. This worked very nicely for both of us and we got some beautiful jumps and some "perfects" on my jumping position, which again made me a happy camper as that has been one of the things I have been working on the most.

After a few times over the vertical to warm up, Renee gave us a course to work on. We started with a shorter course of about 6 jumps. After a time or two through that, Renee changed the course making it 9 jumps, which included a two stride, diagnonal, a few singles, and a three jump bending line. Height wise, the course ranged from 2 foot to 2'3" with maybe one or two 2'6" jumps in there. It was our first time ever through a two stride and though height wise it wasn't large and they were plain verticals, I was a bit nervous. Satin picked up on this making the first time or two through a bit awkward, but after that I got over it and it rode quite nicely.

She rode through the whole course beautifully and at the perfect pace. The first time or two through the longer course she got quick going to the last two jumps because there was a long canter distance to get to them so she got a bit anxious, but after a few times through she settled and rode the whole course at a nice, even pace. Renee was quite happy with both of us and I was feeling quite confident about the course by the end of the lesson. When we are both in the groove with out jumping we do quite well. When she is in fast paced, jumper pony mode I get more disheveled which translates to her and we don't ride as smoothly. We are both getting better with each lesson though and Renee is slowly but surely working to build my jumping confidence.

Satin even jumped like a perfect hunter pony again on Saturday at home. This was even more shocking because she tends to be even quicker at home. I just did some lines and single jumps then a short 4 jump course, but she remained nice and quite through out. Then Ember, who rode her in the Firecracker Fun Show jump-off, wanted to get on. So, she jumped a 6 jump course and she though she got a little quick for her in the beginning, once they both settled into each other she rode quite nicely.

The icing on the cake was yesterday though. I was riding bareback with my friend Shannon and I just had Satin in a halter with the lead rope tied to the loop on the bottom under her chin. Shannon and I decided to switch and she asked to jump her over the crossrail. She jumped her bareback with no bit in her mouth and going in the direction of the gate and she went along perfectly at a nice, even hunter pace! I was quite proud and surprised and think this new diet may be our friend rather than the enemy I thought!

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