Smitty is getting edjumacated this week!
Last night we did our first jump lesson, which focused on a pole exercise to get his brain engaged and allowed me to work on using the outside aids to make turns and find an appropriate rhythm.
A lot of the evening was of the get-to-know-you variety, so we started over a basic ground pole and added more as we went along, ending up with three poles in a row and 4 options for single rails so that I could continuously change direction and create patterns over the poles as he needed.
This exercise not only got him thinking, but it engaged my brain too, and was really helpful in helping us both relax (but mostly me).
A main objective was asking him to lower his poll and use his back over the rails, and for me to use the turns to establish bend and use my outside rein and inside leg. I also worked on keeping my hands low and trying not to get too short with my reins. I can see that I need to be quieter with my leg, but that is a work in progress for certain.
We eventually built up to going over the three ground poles followed by a cross rail. Smitty basically just cantered over, so I got the added responsibility of “creating flight” by squeezing on takeoff and encouraging him to jump. Guide rails were also placed on the ground to help with straightness and the jump.
Overall it was a good lesson and allowed me to conquer some demons that I had trouble with even the night before. I have the feeling that Hurricane Matthew is going to impeded any other jumping lessons before next weekend, but it was good to get at least one under our belt before the show!