(Once again we failed at documentation, but this was at the end of the ride - the dude is looking pretty adorable, if I do say so myself. And check out his ever growing topline!)
Robin and I got split up in our schedules this week, so Ky and I went it alone (well, not quite alone, as I was very lucky to have Pa help me out on the ground). It was a BALMY 37º (up from 7º a few days ago) and I even got to take my gloves off--yippee!! Between that and actually having boots that didn't have me on the verge of tears, we were off to a great start before we even cantered the first pole, haha.
I made a pretty simple exercise today, just a cross rail four short strides (55') to an oxer, set up right in the middle of the arena so that I could approach it evenly off either rein. My general approach was that I would hand gallop down the long side in two point, approximating the speed required for Novice cross country, then sit up, collect around the turn, and jump the cross rail and turn immediately right or left, and then come around to the cross rail again. I would do this circling/figure 8 pattern until he felt forward but relaxed, then jump the cross rail and go straight down the line before resting.
We left the cross rail pretty small but kept building the oxer until it was 3'6" and fairly wide. I wanted to start incorporating a little fitness work into our jumping, as it's now 2013 and our winter off season is officially half over! So when the line was at that height I did a little fitness-building, jumping the line and galloping down the long side back to the line again several times without a break. It was sort of the mini version of the old fitness work I used to do with Dually when he was going prelim/intermediate, which involved quick sprints broken up by shortening up for technical combinations (the favorite for Dually was a BIG one stride of square oxers--something I'm pretty sure I'd pee my pants if I tried to canter down to today!!) and then sprinting off again.
Ky was definitely puffing by the end, but jumped better and better the more we went along. He's so clever: he got every single lead change the entire ride except one (which was totally my fault, as I decided it would be a great idea to suddenly throw my entire body weight off to one side over a 3'6" oxer... I'm surprised the little dude didn't wipe out, given my idiotic behavior) and stayed calm but aggressive throughout. Good man, Ky!
Robin and I are having a lesson with Jane Hamlin together next week. I'm excited!