Due to some arena time being available when it normally is not, Tesla and I took the opportunity to set a chute and get some free jumping done with the boys. I was not entirely sure how it would pan out, as Pogo is still figuring out his body and where all of his legs go, but I think it is safe to say that we were all very pleasantly surprised.
We started out on a lunge to get warmed up, and he surprised me by being very relaxed, despite all of the "new" looking surroundings. He also popped into the most perfect and balanced canter with no effort at all. We then proceeded to handwalk through the chute where Pogo followed very confidently and then moved up to a jog in hand where still he followed confidently without batting an eye.
Then it was the big moment, time to go alone and canter....No issues, figured out the striding and was perfect. We slowly started to build up from a single crossrail, to two, then three, and then introduced a vertical and then an oxer to finish. He did take the opportunity to not go down the chute when people were waving the whip and were in front of him, an honest mistake for a baby, but a clear indicator that well, if he doesn't HAVE to, maybe he just wont :) There was no over jumping and every move he made was willing and confident. He met each fence at a proper spot and adjusted himself well in between each element.
The most interesting part was that each element was being built, he watched intently what they were doing. Almost like trying to figure it out on his own before being in line to it so he was well prepared to do his job. This one is a brave, honest, and willing! little guy who is definitely going to excel in the hunters and is handy enough to be a potential derby horse.
Onto what today brought us:
Free jumping helped the canter SO much! Today we worked more on accepting the bit and worked some on leg yield and shoulder in at the trot before proceeding to canter. Again, leads were a non issue, as was the depart. I mean, he is far from being the next Jersey Boy (yet) but for a first depart (I know we cantered before but not for the sole purpose of cantering as this was) it was more than I could have asked for. I had tops four strides of slight disconnection and finding our feet, but then settled into a lovely, rhythmic canter and slowly dropped our head down into as much of a frame as could be desired for his level of training. I was pleased at how comfortable he was just loping around, not a care in the world.
I do think that the free jumping exercise helped with today's results as he was more challenged to find his feet at a canter with jumping, so carrying the weight of a rider and just loping along was easy for him. I am excited to keep up with our work and to see what this little guy is made of.
There will be links to videos of the freejumping and cantering posted soon!!