“They” say that it takes a year to build a relationship with your horse. It took Kip and I about a year and a month.
Our horsey anniversary was spent schooling at Aspen Farms. That was April 24th. He was really a rock star, jumping everything and really loving every moment. But sometimes (often) he’d blast through my hand and the brakes went away. He just wanted to charge on in a straight line and jump everything that was in that line, but turning was sort of not in the program. Since then, we have been working on keeping the canter up and bouncy, so he can rock back on his haunches and turn when asked. Just last week our Wednesday lesson was jump, land, turn and jump. It was really hard. It took us probably eight or even ten times to get it. But seriously, once he figured it out, he nailed it. Over and over.
We spent the last three rides practicing turning — over fences and poles, and on the flat. A lot of flat work with him listening to the leg. Then today was Jump group. There were four other horses in the group with us, and I swear Kip really examines other horses jumping and figures out what to do by looking. Except Corina’s little pony mare, who he is just in love with and wants to race after her. So we couldn’t follow her. But besides that, I think Kip has really learned the jump, turn jump thing. Today was bending lines at a nice gallop — Gallop up then jump, look and opening rein over the fence, three turning strides to the next fence, leg on, (leg ON!!) and turn to the third fence. It was really exhilarating. And Kip just was great all of this. Not that he did it perfectly — not at all. The first time through one combination, he was swimming; paddling his legs not knowing where to put them. But that is exactly the right instinct in that situation, keep your options open, no propping or just bursting through the jump, but try lots of things out and go with what seems to keep you clear. But who am I kidding. He was mostly just really brave and scopey to every fence. He had the correct striding most of the time…sometimes he’d add a stride, but that certainly beats leaving long. And some of these fences are easily the biggest we’ve ever done. In the three foot range. Maybe more?
Can you imagine where we will be in another year?
Anyway. Kerry took photos of Jump Group today and I can’t wait to see them. There should be some good ones.