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Whats the next step?

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  • Whats the next step?

    Some training suggestions needed:

    Background: Bought 7yr old OTTB in December with a little bit of undersaddle time (hacks/trails) off the track but no jumping experience. She had been sitting in a tiny stall with no turnout for months. Weather has been crazy so training has been good, but inconsistent, (ridden apprx. 2x days a week) and we have had two dressage lessons and popped over a few crossrails on our own- concentrating on gymnastics work, some cavaletti and raised poles on the ground. This mare is SMART- she catches on quickly, is sane and has work ethic, but very forward, so we have spent a good bit of time, especially on the flat working on relaxing through her neck, and just relaxing in general.

    The weather was incredible this weekend so I hauled her down to Poplar with dressage trainer who was showing for clients, talked him into schooling us x-c (he has shown eventing through intermediate and only pretends he knows nothing about jumping) and this is her first time off the farm so I want to see how her brain is and how she behaves with the hubub of shows. She is "up" in the warm-up ring and I'm a teensy bit nervous but the long walk out to amoeba/tadpole x-c course relaxes us a good bit. I am timid at first (visions of a long out of control gallop alllll the way back to show barn dancing through my head) but she is an absolute STAR. The whole time she's like "ok mom, whats next" We ended up jumping everything amoeba and tadpole, then took her to ditch...fine, bank...fine, water complex...loved it, bank out of water...loved it and threw in celebratory buck on the way up the hill. I was GIDDY and she was having the time of her life! There were other horses around and fairly BNT schooling crazy greenie over every jump imaginable and flying by at high speeds... and she never batted an eyelash at anything. Had one refusal at flat top coop because I looked at it- totally me! So anyway, what do we do next? Our dressage is coming along nicely and I think it's our stadium that may be the issue- she is fine over verticals, but seems to hate crossrails of any size and has very clever ways of evading them. I want her to LOVE jumping in the ring as much as she seems to love jumping out of the ring and now that I know she has a great jump and PLENTY of athletic ability I am looking for some good exercises to move us in a more positive direction IN the ring over fences. Stadium is normally my FAVORITE portion and what I feel most confident in, so I'm a little confused as to where to go with getting her comfy there too. She seemed to LOVE having something to do with her miles of energy and athleticism out on x-c and her fitness level is great considering our inconsistent riding- although she does get lunged at least every other day. So any ideas? I want her to like the idea of jumping in the ring- thats my MAIN goal.
    Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
    Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy

  • #2
    Am I understanding correctly that she has just jumped little stuff a handful of times before this x-c school?

    If so, I wouldn't be too disheartened if she still seems confused over x-rails/gymnastics in the ring. I think some young horses get a little confused about gymnastics (not that it isn't a good for them) just because they are unsure of where their feet need to go. Or, in the case of x-rails, you are penalized for not being straight.

    If she felt more confident on x-c, it might be because you had her more forward to the fences than in the ring? Or because you didn't have to steer so much? If so, perhaps concentrate on riding forward (not necessarily faster) out of your turns and to s-j fences?