Friday, January 16, 2009

Cross Country Lesson II

Today was my second cross country lesson on Jack. On Thursday, at the Cross Country Schooling Night, one of our big problems (or should I say my big problem) was looking down at the jump. This again came into play today. Its a bad habit I REALLY need to break because it makes Jack unsure of whether to jump or not.

As always, we started off small. Focusing on rythm and softness we quickly moved up to higher, but simple jumps. Jack jumped them without hesitation and we worked more on my position then anything else. Sue did the old trick of sticking grass between my calf and the saddle which has always helped my with my position. I need to imagine grass there all the time, because sometimes my leg goes flying back over the jump.

We moved onto two logs set up as a double at the top of a hill. Jack refused first time and I'm sure I was looking down. Sue had me bring Jack 4 strides out from a jump and just stand there breathing deeply, showing him that the jump was no big deal and nothing to panic about. She told me to kick him on and jump it from a trot. Eyes up, eyes up, leg on, eyes up, soft with hands. This was my mantra the entire lesson. He hesitated but I drove him on and he basically crawled over the jump. The second time he jumped and we did the double easily.

We moved onto a log that was set up on top of a bank. A DOWNHILL BANK. He crawled over this the first and second time and then refused the third time. Sue pointed out that often I will drop my eyes at the last second which makes him not sure about whether its okay to jump. He refused another time and then we managed to get two good flowing jumps over it. I was very balanced which I was proud of.

Next we moved onto the Dog Box!! Sue seems to think that they have raised the jump and instead of it being Pre-Training, it is in fact Training which is great! Again Jack ran out. He runs out to the left which is rather a nuisence because I HATE holding my whip in my left hand but I'm going to have to get used to it because he never runs out to the right. After the first run out we trotted by one of the ponies who was grazing in that paddock. Apparently she doesn't like Jack because she double barreled us a couple of times. The first kick got the underside of my foot, but thankfully didn't hurt. The second kick got Jack in the chest. I trotted him out and he seemed unhurt so we kept on with the lesson. I found a small cut on him later which I sprayed with iodine. He ran out a second time and tried on run out a third time but I kept my whip pressed up against his left shoulder and he scrambled over the jump. The second time he scrambled again and the third time I pushed him more forward into the jump and it rode very nicely! YAYAYAY I JUMPED THE DOG BOX! I've been wanting to do that for so long.

After we schooled some other jumps, Sue put together a course for me to do. One of the jumps in the course was jumping off a bank! Sue timed the course without me knowing and my time was 1.45min. She said she wanted it down to 1.30min so we did it again. I had to do the down hill bank fast and we rode it really well. I got 1.32min so she made me do it again and I really pushed him to go faster. The down hill went great again and we got 1.29min yus!

The funny thing about Jack is that he doesn't puff. He sweats A LOT and soaks his saddle blankets everytime he's worked hard but he doesn't puff at all. I don't know why he does this, maybe he just has really good lung compacity but its not like any other horse I know. But if it works for him, then why not?

It was good lesson and I'm really happy we did the Dog Box!


Pip said...

Well done!! Sounds like a definate improvement from last time :D

Katie said...

Thanks Pip! It was good fun.

Jennynz said...

Well done! Especially on jumping the scary dog box!