I have found that at horse farms you  see one of two things: a jump course that never changes despite the fact you can no longer see the bottoms of the standards anymore due to the accumulation of sand....and the ring that is never the same twice....at least every ten days I am switching things around, changing it up and building what suits my horses needs on that given day, but I also switch up the colors, so if a gymnastic ends with the black and grey (as below) it won't end with black and grey for awhile...this weeks gymnastic ends in blue, the line I have been working on with both of my TB's is black and grey. Long story longer, I have known this to throw off some horses, not Mr. Steve. He always struts into the arena and I can tell he notices it's different, but he brings his game face and never lets it phase him. He has been the most straight forward horse over fences that I have ever ridden, despite the fact that he is still really green and has next to no idea what this whole jumping game is.

With that being said, we have been jumping about two times per week, mixing it up with trot exercises, gymnastics, starting with lines and we even cantered our first single fence the other day....but then let me tell you what riding a hose with a BIG EGO is like, haha....any more confidence instilled in this horse and,well, I am not sure what we will get, but we shall see as I am not about to knock it out of him.

Our last jumping session (which will be our last one for potentially the season, will explain later) we started a bounce to two one strides, vertical - oxer. He was pretty green about the bounces, but it got better every time, and honestly the bigger you put the vertical at the first one stride, the beter the bounce got....We eventually built it up to a small cross rail bounce to a 3' vertical and 3'6" oxer, which despite looking huge in the arena, looks disappointingly small watching videos of us over it, and looking at the photo...

So,  reasoning behind the last jumping session is that although his jumping is getting better and better, it's his only focus, his flat work is still good and improved,  but we still have moments of, "I'm sure you know better than that as you have been in a program for way too long..." and he does, it's just when  he's brave and cocky that Steve knows best...one day when he does know best, that will be an excellent trait, but for now, we're instilling a good half halt, connection, throughness, and lots of foot work over group poles to keep his interest in the flatwork...I am anticipating a good month or so of this flatwork schooling, but it may be less. If he catches on and comes around, we'll jump again sooner, but it's come time that the questions require more flat schooling, not just straight and forward at the fences. Anyway, weather may not play in our favor, as well...but I will keep everyone posted!



3'6" never looked so small....
 
 
So you think I was kidding about Steve's ability to jump? Guess again....
He is figuring out the game with class and style and is working his way to my favorite ride in the barn. Who am I kidding? He is my favorite :)

His flatwork is coming along, not as fast as his jumping, but it's getting there. He is slowly starting to accept the bit and actually last week had been stretching down and into the bit. On occasion he gets hotter and is less apt to reach, but is still progressing. He's forward, moving off of my leg and getting to be more and more relaxed. He is no longer laying on the inside, and only when he gets tired does he travel haunches in at the canter like a silly OTTB, haha. 

I really can't push the flatwork, I really have to wait it out with him. He's quick to take offence and hold a grudge, not that he's nasty or mean or anything of the like, but he is not so quick to give you the answer you want again if you do something he isn't keen to. That's fine, really. I am having a blast and he's not dangerous or crazy, and hes still YOUNG and this is all new so, hey, whatever, it will come with time. 

Jumping, this horse is a machine. He WANTS the fences, get him even in a remote "could potentially, maybe be a line to a jump" and hes all focus, all game...he is BRAVE BRAVE BRAVE, he could give a hoot what a jump looks like or where it's placed he is going! 

Which brings me to yet another favorite aspect of this horse. HE IS CAREFUL. We were doing a grid the other day and he had a greeny moment and caught his toe on the cross rail before an oxer (in a one stride). He had a moment of "aw, man! I hit that rail" and had a half stumble on landing (to watch the video, you would hardly notice unless you were looking for it) and then stopped dead before the oxer. Now, some might be like "well he learned a bad habit, way to go" however! this was a moment of relief for me. He was being careful and making sure he was doing his job RIGHT. He didn't want to risk taking off odd and potentially not jumping well or even worse, dangerously, out of the gymnastic....so he got his pat, we circled around and went right through as if nothing had happened....and of course jumping the CRAP out of both the crossrail and oxer. 

Despite also how disorganized our canter can be, we started trotting in to and cantering out of lines, and oddly enough there is some minor adjustabilty there. It surprised the heck out of me but I cannot complain!!! 

Here is a video of two jump sessions ago.....
My goal is to potentially go to a little schooling show in the near future, let him see another farm, get off the property and experience a horse show. I don't want to add too much pressure of a crazy schooling arena, so my plan is to at least walk around a schooling if he can handle it and then do an unjudged "trip" around a course....ie. go in and trot the fences we want and maybe do a line or something, but alone in the arena to keep it all low key....I mean we'll see what happens, but that's a may