Jumping sessions. New view.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:05 PM
I have been jumping with Santo once a week this summer. And at first things were great. In spring it was a novelty to him he was so enthusiastic, keen and tried very hard. The more novelty was wearing off the more it started to look like he is not into jumping at all. He would drop rails, occasionally refuse and just show the overall unenthusiastic attitude toward it. I was raking my brain for the solutions. Because jumping is not my specialty and I haven't done an extensive jumping program since I was 16 I felt it was my inexperience. I was not properly setting him up, the distances were wrong and I was pushing him too much. Which as well all can be true. However, my gut feeling was that he was simply bored. He would give me a few good jumps and then start to drop or refuse almost saying to me - OK, we have done that I am not amused lets do something else. I must admit my jumping sessions were set up as real jumping sessions. I would have a grid or a few jumps (my arena is small) set up and I would warm up over them with just a poll on the ground and then make them into small jumps and go over again, make them a bit bigger and go over again. Can you see how this can look very boring to a horse? Over and over the same thing. I never do that in dressage training! I started to think he does not like jumping and prefers dressage. Which was sad :( I like occasional jumping sessions for fun and variety.
Last weekend we did a dressage show so we didn't jump for a while beforehand. Because the show was so much dressage I decided to have a jumping session after Santo had couple days of rest. I decided not to do the usual approach. I set up jumps for a final hight of 2 feet from the beginning. Warming up I was a bit worried that we are at the hight he did refuse before. And then it hit me. The bulb was shining very bright in my head. I like dressage, I know it, I am good at it and Santo seems to like it. I will use this strong dressage base for our jumping session! I will ride simple dressage figures, combinations of figures and transitions and just ask him to jump occasionally here and there. It worked so beautifully! He was calm and careful, focused and obedient. He didn't care jumps were 2 feet, he just popped over them like nothing and we continued to our next figure. I couldn't believe my eyes how simple this was. Why didn't I think of this before? Instantly I could see in how many different ways I can play it out for him keeping him busy and interested. This made me very happy. We only have slightly more than a month left before my arena freezes and I have to go to the fields. I can have a few very productive jumping sessions with him building his confidence over jumps without boredom or frustration.
I am talking to a jumping instructor to set up a few jumping lessons on one of her horses to gain more experience and ask questions. Hopefully, over this winter I will make it happen and in spring I will be a better partner for Santo during our jumping sessions.
Happy riding...
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