Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kiki can JUMP

How awesome is this little mare? She's kind and sweet, she's got a brain like a computer, and she can JUMP. At times it's a bit like being strapped to a rocket, but (usually) in the best possible way.

Today, the rain miraculously held off and the jump ring was actually usable for the first time in days and days. Since both of my horses are heading to Three Day Ranch in a week (!!), you can bet that I was out there on both of them today!

Ringo was EXCELLENT. I haven't jumped at height much yet this season, so it was great when the jumps went up and Ringo and I were able to keep it together. I'm really getting to know him better and it showed; Bec hadn't taught us since before Thermal, and I think she was happily surprised with how much we've improved. We even jumped spooky fences like the Liverpool (at height!) and the toothbrush panel on a bending line with no issues - excellent! Definitely a good confidence boost before Three Day.

Then, it was Kiki's turn. She definitely came out into the ring with a bee in her bonnet! She was much tighter and more oversensitive than she has been recently, which I found pretty disappointing because she's been SO good and progressing SO steadily for the past few weeks. Guess I should have known that never lasts long with young horses! Because the flatwork wasn't there as we were warming up, the jumping was definitely a little tougher than it was last time! She was hot, sensitive, and NOT in the mood to trot her fences (again, a disappointment, because this is an area that she's improved in by leaps and bounds). Oh boy!

The exercise that Bec eventually built up for us was an x preceded by a 9' placing rail, one stride to a cross rail oxer, one stride to another cross rail oxer, followed by another 9' placing rail, so it could be trotted in from either direction. To start out, Kiki was wild! It was so interesting to see how such minor changes could affect the trip through the grid: this horse is tuned in to me like no horse I've ever ridden before, and she's incredibly attentive and sensitive to any changes that I make as a rider. I'm happy with how much better we're clicking (thinking back to the gridwork a few weeks ago when I could barely stay in the plate!) and I think that we got some good work out of the exercise despite her occasional spitfire behavior.

One of my favorite things about this horse is that she's FEARLESS. At first I was pretty freaked out by her fearlessness because I wasn't totally sold on her actual athleticism - it's not a good combination to have a brave horse that's going to run itself into a situation it can't get itself out of! As I've gotten to know her better, though, I've discovered that she really is an athlete in the making. The bitch can jump!!

Example: there was one time through where I had been trying to break her up in her neck and shoulders and ended up getting a bit cattywhompus to the first x instead, and even though she was crooked as hell she dug in and got out through the grid. The last fence was a very big x (the rails were set on top of the 6' standards) with a 9' placing rail on the far side and she got to it snuggled right up against the standard. Without batting an eye, she fired out over a section of the x that must have been 4' and landed on the far side of the placing rail. Definitely not what I was aiming for, but very impressive nonetheless! The best part was, though, when she came around the next time after that VERY unorthodox trip, and did it foot perfectly. What a good girl! I'm so in love with her =)

I'm getting pretty excited for Three Day Ranch, especially now that Papa is coming with!!

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