I went out the barn after taking the kids to a movie to jump P over crazy things. Loaded up my truck with things like tarps and shavings bales (Megan had a great idea and suggested beach towels and crepe paper, so those are definitely going in for next time), and tacked P up in our potential new saddle (PNS..I swear I’m going to do a post on it) and dusted off my trusty old rope halter. I haven’t used it since the days of ol’ Jester, who was the one responsible for breaking off 3 of my 4 trailer tie rings.
We went behind the shed and I started him over a couple of boards on the ground, and he was just fine. So then I enlisted the help of some of the little girls that were still there and we dragged the tarp out and made it jump-able. Again, he was fine. WTF? Why are you fine? WE NEED TO WORK THROUGH OUR PROBLEMS SO HAVE A PROBLEM.
From there, I just kept dragging things out from the shed and changing things up.
And he jumped everything.
The only thing he did have an issue with (and unfortunately is not on tape) was after the last video, I reversed directions where he jumped onto the tarp. He did it once, then refused repeatedly, maybe 3x, before going over it. So I kept him going over it until there was no more hesitation and we called it a day.
The whole session lasted maybe 25 minutes and you could pretty much see the wheels turning in his head. I was surprised that he jumped everything so quickly when Trainer B had so many issues (my jumps were definitely scarier than his), and while I’m not naïve enough to think that the 45 minutes with Trainer B cured him, he IS a super smart horse and so hopefully this means we’re on the right track. Of course we’ll see whether or not this translates over to when I’m in the saddle, which will be tested tomorrow AM when we go XC schooling at a new place.
All in all I’m extremely happy with how today went, because it shows that P (in my opinion) carried over what he learned in the lesson with Trainer B to today, so we’re at least on the right track.
The most important thing to me is to solidify P and keep his confidence up. I know his biggest issue is his insecurity- I’ve felt it on course more times than I can count. He starts out tentative and backed off, then (usually) about jump 5 or so-or when he sees water- he clicks into a different gear and is much more rideable and likely to jump the jumps. But I also can’t tell you how many times we’ve been leading after dressage and then a stop drops us. That’s got to go so if it takes going back to ground work (which honestly should be done no matter what level your horse is, it’s just not nearly as fun as riding), then I’ll do it.
Wish us luck tomorrow!