I set up another exercise from Jim Wofford's gymnastics book, this one designed to help get the horse to jump sharply off of a 'going' stride. I definitely get a bit chicken when I have to really commit to ride down to the bigger distance, so it was good practice for me to test my mettle a bit in a controlled gymnastic setting.
I totally failed on documentation, but here's what the general grid looked like at we started:
(Note: Ky's adorable little ears and the SUPER PRO drag job my dad did right before we rode - so classy!! Thanks, Pa!)
Basically it was a trot in to a vertical with a placing rail, 2 going strides to an oxer, 2 going strides to a triple bar (the original exercise was 2 strides to 3 strides, but our arena isn't long enough for that and was barely long enough as it was). I haven't jumped a triple bar in years and years, and guess that Ky potentially never has, so that in itself was almost exciting enough!
The longer distances definitely tested my courage, especially given Ky's tendency to be a little flat in trot-in exercises. There was a lot of nervous clucking the first couple times through! I did better at relaxing by the end, and Ky jumped better the better I did.
My other main concern was to make sure Ky was moving and jumping in a relaxed way. My dressage lesson earlier in the week definitely impressed upon me the necessity of making relaxation a top priority. I think I've done well in getting him more forward in the jumping, but it has come at the premium of some relaxation and rideability. So today, I decided to try to take a step back and restore the calmness (while hopefully not throwing away the forwardness we've achieved!). I'd say we had moderate success, though obviously there's still work to be done.
The most surprising element of the gymnastic was how massive it felt: we only ever put the jumps up to 3' for the oxer and maybe 3'3" for the triple bar, but both Kiki and Ky jumped hugely, especially over the triple bar on the way out. The first few times, Ky jumped so boldly, and landed so steeply, that I flopped like a sack of dirt! So in the end it was good practice to practice holding my position for a 'bigger jump' feeling without actually jumping bigger fences.
It's hard to believe that the start of event season is only 3 months away!! Lots to do, but I'm getting very excited :)