Schooling yesterday over courses was a little disconnected and I never quit could put my finger on it. He's been a little squirrely lately, but this was different in a strange way. Unlike previous months, he really seemed into the jumping part of it, he was just...distracted. Riding at night is always weird for him and he finds shadow monsters in every corner.
I felt like I was dealing with a severely ADHD child and directing him was challenging. I figured it was my riding, as most mistakes are, but it was still a frustrating ride.
He was jumping everything nicely the first few times I popped him over to warm up. I was happy that most people take Friday nights to go out and end their barn time early and I had the arena to myself! Took the liberty to rearrange the jumps a bit. I had set up a course with many options for rollbacks or bending lines.
We went through several courses a few times and he was just looking everywhere &bnot paying attention at all. It was like we were up on a jump and he was like "AH SHIT I jump this NOW, or NOT, or do I, WHAT DO I DO". The arena was a bit crowded and he seemed confused on which jump we were going for next, which I think was the biggest issue; I wasn't being clear enough with my riding.
He was relatively lovely, listening in the turns, rocking back after each jump and jumping each fence well. However, randomly, he would just refuse something. No rhyme or reason as to occurrences or specific fence, he would just be like "Nah bruh" at the last second.
After a few run through's, I was getting pissed, since this is our biggest issue and would really like it to stop happening. I generally try to train him the way I want to ride him forever, and this is with light aids and a light touch. Apparently this wasn't aggressive enough for him. No only that, I was concentrating on packaging him a little too much before each fence, I believe.
For one round I rode SUPER aggressively. Like sitting back 3 strides out, legs on, really FORWARD ride into my hands and he sailed over everything effortlessly and without a pause.
OK then. Heard that.
Makes sense a bit, since this is how Yankee liked to be ridden at first. He was never a "cruiser" until recently. Annoying, since hand holding over an entire course is a pain, but while he's young and still figuring it out I can do it and don't mind. I want him to learn that its his job to lock on to the fence I point him towards and take the initiative to gets over with minimal interface from me (yes, I know jumping requires two bodies- but it should not require aggressive hand holding through the entire course forever).
With this style of riding, we completed two more rounds without mishap and he was loving it. Soaring over the jumps and landing with gusto. He was still coming back to me and taking the rollbacks with lovely balance, but seemed to like the extra support and confidence I was giving him.
I am going to try and ride my best like that tomorrow, but I still have this "weird fear" of falling off while jumping. Its only happened twice in my entire life over fences, but its not something I like to experience and his wishy washy refusals eeeek me out. The funny thing is, my riding seems to directly correlate to his performance and lack of refusals. Funny how that works.
Also, as a quick sidetone, I got his new Stubben I bought him in December back from the leather tailor finally and it is perfect!! Those gentleman at my shop do a seamless job and are so friendly and accommodating. They finished 4 days quicker than expected and quoted me too high, so that was a nice surprise when I went to pick it up that I didn't owe anything on top of my deposit.
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Now I just have to get some bridle tags for all of his shit. I've been perusing Easy, but what I want to know from you all, is who do you get your tags from and why?
He's to riding well tomorrow, staying warm and maybe bringing home some satin!