Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jumping Barrels for the First Time

Blu, 8-25-10, afternoon, 45 minutes

**SPOILER ALERT**If the title didn't do it for you, this will: For the first time, Blu jumped the barrels with me riding him. Maggie was nice enough to take pictures. Unfortunately, she was not able to catch us in the optimal position, for the three times we jumped, but I am very grateful to her for her services.

I hung out with Blu for the longest time (off the clock of 45 minutes) before I decided to have the session. He was very friendly and whatnot and got several cookies from me, but mainly just being pet and scratched. I took him out of the pasture and let him graze with Ginger while Maggie and I talked (again, off the clock) about what our plans were for the afternoon. Blu waited in a stall while Ginger was let out back, then I saddled him and put on a halter and 45' line.

On the way out to the back of the pasture, I put him on the pedestal so I could set up a stansion jump for in case I decided that he was not ready to jump with me over the barrels--at least we could jump something. Blu waited and waited up there with four feet while I dinked around. He only had to be put back up there once, and then when I was ready to move on, he did not want to get down. I actually believe that this picture is me trying to get him off of it. He just looked at me so I began walking toward his hiney and then I saw it click in his mind and he got down and trotted to me.

I played the yo yo game and had to do some friendly once he was out because he thought he had to go off on the circle and he was thinking that unconfidently. He must not have had his Wheaties this morning because he was not as in tune to the energy phase at first the way he was the other night. This is a picture of my face of concentration. That is the current position that my hands are in during this motionless phase. As you can see, Blu is not very attentive. I did some quick phase four after holding this phase one for a while and then he was very responsive and attentive.

I noticed that Blu was drawn to the barrel set up pretty quick; he knew the pattern. He stopped and stepped over them first and I rewarded him with a really quick bite from the food barrel, which was about 40' past the jump. Then I sent him on again and had him circle me while I fixed the barrels (so he was circling the barrels). I was glad that he maintained gait and direction while I had my attention on the barrels and as I walked back to the original center.

Now he went over them. I was actually surprised at how confident he was. That was in the direction away from the food barrel, so he got to stand with me for a while. When he went over them in the other direction confidently, I decided he was ready to carry me--he looked calm and focused and he was doing it on a loose line--I liked it.

I did not have a 12' line out, so I just used the savvy string as one rein and the carrot stick. When he picked up the canter, it was a bit scrambly and worried, and I could tell he knew what the plan was, which was where his confidence issues stemmed from. So, I did circles AROUND the barrel jumps until his canter relaxed, making the circles smaller and smaller. When the circle's diameter was the width of the jump, he was really relaxed. . . and he was trying to go over the jump, so one time, I let him. It was so easy and relaxed! I went over three times because we were hoping to get a better picture of it, but after three times, I just decided it was more important to end the session than to get a picture of it. Every time, we did the same pattern of circling the jump, and every time, we went over it when I let him swerve OVER the jump. How often do you hear that? "My horse swerved to avoid running around a jump."Pretty cool.
That is a confident Blu jumping with slack in the line and everything.

Maggie missed the jump, but these are the first few strides after jumping our first barrel jump together.

And here is Blu, on his way down after the jump. Of course we are not going over the center because Blu had to swerve off the "not-jump" path and onto this one.

I let Blu go sooner so we actually went over the center barrel. That was our last jump for the session.

After our session, I took conformation pictures. I am going to start keeping a conformation and condition journal of Blu per Maggie's request. I think it is a good idea to see how his body changes as we explore collection.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving