So today we were stuck inside as most of the classes went outside...which is stinky but it means that I was in a way forced to jump as the jumps are inside not out, so I had ample opportunity.
My plan was to back to trotting fences and get him putting in that extra trot step that we were lacking the previous time we jumped and get better and straighter with that. I would then transition to cantering fences if he was showing the will. I also had set 2 poles 5 strides apart for our canter work so we could work on evetually transitioning to cantering lines.
Well I stuck to the plan and Pogo's flatwork was great as it has been normally. I think I forgot to mention that I tried him in a happy mouth dee and I love it so we're keeping it for now. To the right is his "bad" lead -I think its weaker and he is still figuring out travelling in that direction, but it's still a quality gait. We were consistently getting 4 in our 5, BUT he was staying through, connected and rhythmical so I think its due to the weakness there (alas, something to improve upon! noone is perfect!). To the right we were able to get the 5 consistently and in the same balanced, connected fashion.
We transitioned to trotting the fences and Pogo was awesome. Bold as ever, in our walk break inbetween trotting and cantering he walked right up to the base of the crossrail and went to walk over it. I think he knows and loves his new job. He gave me some good efforts, putting in that extra trot step, he had morphed from the last time we jumped - I was beginning to wonder if he was ever really getting what we were doing before, and today he was trotting fences like my more schooled horses do! Landing in a rhythmical canter in our second or third time over the fence I continued on to canter it. At first he was a little close to it, but jumped clean, second time he was very long but still clean then a perfect distance.
We changed direction and jumped a little verticle set about 6-7 strides in a line away the same way (trotted once or twice, canter once). I don't like jumping INTO a line and turning a green horse out. They are wiggly to begin with and I don't ever want to encourage an "out" when going into a line. If horses don't learn about an "out" or don't learn to stop at a fence, generally, the thought then won't ever cross their mind. On occasion comments are made that I don't just float the rein and let my green horses "go" and some might like to see a bit more freedom (I'm not hanging on them, simply being supportive on both reins to encourage the straightness). BUT my theory is that just one run out can create a whole slew of problems and YES ideally all control should be from the leg, BUT Pogo is 4 and off the track, he has only had legs this far down on his sides since January, he may not always know or relate "leg" to steering with a distraction (ie. a jump) in front of them. ok. end of rant.
Anyway we did the verticle, which he rubbed despite the perfect distance but only one side came down so I took that as a sign that maybe we should try and canter the whole line, so we came around, broke down to trot, jumped the x and cantered down in a wiggly 7. Lightbulb. We tried again only to get straighter and more consistent down the line and finish with an auto change when we landed wrong. This little guy has some talent, and let me tell you he LOVES LOVES LOVES his job.
I am tempted to do more of this but I think we really need to think gymnastics and introducing small oxers to his program, and once that hurdle has been cleared, go back to trotting in and cantering out, including small oxers and SOOON! cantering in and cantering out.
We finally have an unders