Barrels have always given me the heebie jeebies. I never gave them a single thought until at one of our failed BN moveups, one of the stadium jumps had a barrel underneath and P refused it over a dozen times. And since the actual stadium course had a jump with a barrel underneath, I scratched the competition. I think this was back in November ’16.
Then after auditing a Clayton Fredericks clinic, I brought one out to see what P would do.
And then promptly never did another thing with it.
Until we got to Trainer B’s a few weeks ago and he’s all, “Go warmup over those barrels.”
And somehow to my utter surprise, he jumped it the first time.
Then last week, Trainer B hopped aboard. He also used the barrels as a warmup…
So then I left for Kentucky for 4 days.
Monday I went out to get his Always-Emotional-After-Vacation-Ride (AEAVR) in. If P has more than 2 days off, one those is needed. During an AEAVR, you simply need to get on and put him through w/t/c for a short period of time to remind him that he is, in fact, still a riding horse. Sometimes the rides have to be as short as 5 minutes, sometimes you can eek out 10 or 15. You don’t EVER expect to have a good ride, you just don’t.
He was fairly quiet when I got on, though stiff and unwilling to soften, which is totally fine for an AEAVR. I worked a bit at the canter, trying to remember how to get the half halt I worked on with Trainer B the week before. At first it took 12 strides to get it, by the end he was consistently coming back in 6. I’ll take it.
Tuesday I rolled out the barrels. They’re a bit different than Trainer B’s in that they’re blue, not black, but same size and shape, and P spooked at them, so I figured I was on the right track. I took my spurs off, grabbed my crop, and mentally readied myself for battle.
After warming up, I put him right into the canter. Coming around the turn, I half-halted him, sent him forward and before I knew it, we were on the other side of the jump.
I mean…he didn’t even take a flier, which is usually what happens when he jumps a weird looking jump for the first time. We did it a few more times, then I hopped off and put a pole over to make it 2’7″ and spread the barrels out. So now it was bigger AND looked different. P hates when jumps change shape.
He’s sorta useless as jump crew.
So I clambered back on, warned myself not to expect him to jump this just because he did the last time, and came around again.
We came around again a couple more times, but it was clear that he was jumping it just fine. So…that ride got to be super short because that was literally my only objective for the day.
P will get hacked out today, then jumped tomorrow. I set up a fun course consisting of a one stride to a bending 5, and a 4 stride gate to funky-looking oxer, with a couple of single jumps around the arena, plus the barrels (muahaha). Friday he’ll have off, since I have a fundraiser to go to, and then Saturday we’re heading to Trainer B’s.
It’s in the 80’s and sunny here finally (guess we’re just going to skip spring and go right to summer), so perfect riding weather here this week!