Oh where do I start?
How about with what saintly ponies we have that put up with the terrible drive over and almost getting the trailer stuck? Yeah. *sigh* The first problem came when I missed the turn onto Dressler. It came up a lot quicker than I thought it would! And it’s pretty much the last place to turn until you get to California which was not really an option. So I turned around on the highway. Oh the ponies were not happy! But we made it, and we made it to Madchen’s farm, finally. We drove around the arena and onto their pull through looking for a place to park only to find that it was blocked! In my attempt to turn it around, I got it pretty darn stuck. Luckily Madchen was a saint and unstuck us. Unluckily, Dandy had not survived unscathed.
Once we got off the trailer though, everything went beyond our expectations. The lesson was, to be frank, AMAZING. Easily the best jump lesson I’ve had in years, maybe even ever.
It started with the usual introductions of the horses, riders and what our goals are. Krissie and I both stated that we wanted to start at the beginning with the basics and make sure we have a solid solid foundation built up. So after a bit of flat work, that’s what we did!
Our first exercise was a line of ground poles. Our first time through we were supposed to be completely natural and see what the striding was. Madchen set it up as a 5 for Dandy (who she correctly figured would have a big stride) and asked Krissie to push Klancie into a 5 as well. Dandy did it in 4. Oops. So we came back around and asked him to sit back and collect a little bit to get the five. Once we were going through that well, Madchen put the first jump into a cross rail with a trot rail before and a canter pole afterwards.
This was the first instance of actually having to work with Dandy. I had to really sit up before the jump, apply a half halt to get him to sit up. But we went over the jump easily, of course, and then had to work on getting the five strides between again.
The second thing that I really had to work on with Dandy was getting him to not launch over the jumps the minute he thought he could. Madchen put the second jump in a line up to an 18″ vertical that Dandy flew over. She put it up a bit higher. Now Dandy wanted to go. I had to really keep my head through the entire line. The minute we landed I asked Dandy to rate and we got the five stride to the vertical. Madchen was impressed with how he could “pat the ground” and still maintain his jump.
Back and forth Krissie and I would take turns going over this line, and I think we both enjoyed the break between. I had so much fun watching Klanice and Krissie. Klancie was just plodding along during the flat work but the minute that Krissie pointed him at a jump his ears pricked up and his eyes lit up. Krissie got to really jump as well and went over the highest jump she’d ever done to this point, 2’3!
The second grid we worked on was a trot in to a one stride to a two or three stride. Again, we started just poles. Dandy did not want to turn into this line, which was a bit closer to the short end of the arena. Madchen had me apply a counter bend and a very strong outside leg to get him over. I think I’ll have to put the spurs back on. Then the poles got to put into verticals and that’s when the fun started.
The very last thing we did was put the two lines together with a set of cross poles across the diagonal. I LOVED putting it all together. I loved even more that Madchen set up the second jump in the first line to a 2’6 swedish oxer for Dandy. The first time through, on the second line after the one stride I sort of stopped thinking, however, and Dandy took advantage of this and flew over the third jump after only long one stride. Oops, again! So we came around and did it right. It was such a great ride because I remembered to apply my half halts, got him to pat the ground and got my striding!
Long story short, Krissie and I can’t wait to go back!