Friday we free jumped the boys, and they were fantastic! 

Ryker thought it was a blast and galloped and bucked around like a hooligan after going through the chute - you could see him almost wagging his tail like a dog with pleasure. We started simply with poles and progressed up to Xrails, one at a time (up to three), as he figured out to jump over them, instead of through them. Once he figured it out we put the last one up to a vertical, and then an oxer.  At the start he was hesitant and curious, but willing - he never stopped, but took his time to look at them on the approach - at the end he was forward and bold to them, making the striding tight.  The efforts he made over the fences was enough to clear them, but he did not over jump them to an extreme. The Xrails became big canter strides and the small Oxer a solid effort - I can't wait until he is ready to try it again for height, he has so much power!

 Here is first time over the Oxer, and last time through:
And here is a still shot of his last jump. Look at those knees! :D
While free jumping was great for Ryker's brain, it lit a fire in his belly. On Saturday he was ready to roll! The excitement brought us back a step or two in terms of balance and rhythm, and all he wanted to do was run around - at least he was not lacking forward motion off my leg!.  We were able to consistently pick up the left lead after much lateral work to get his body straight - once he was straight and forward he popped right into it (Surprise, surprise!).  

End of week two assessment: Intelligent, Bold, and Athletic 

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