Monday, April 30, 2012

Lesson 23: Straight Through the Jump

We worked this week on getting Louie straight between my aids as we prepared to jump.  He was wanting to drift his haunches to the outside of the circle (I guess he has always done this, I just didn't really recognise it), so we had to work really hard on paying attention and keeping him straight on the circle. 

After a while we trotted up to a single jump (cavalleti on the highest position) without any trot poles before it.  Julie likes to think of a jump as a canter depart, so the goal would be to come out of the jump on the proper lead.  Well, as we were tracking to the left, Louie should have taken his left lead out of the jump. . . but not so. . . even with his feet placed exactly where Julie thought they should have been, he always managed to re-arrange them at the last minute to avoid taking his left lead.  Apparently our lead problem is reversed.  You may remember some posts quite a while back about how much Louie hated his right lead. . . well now that seems to be his one good side. . . I think that may be due to his left hind stifle, as we've been thinking about having it injected now that we're asking him to work harder and he has been chronically lame (very very slight) on that left hind for a few years.  We've had it evaluated, but haven't had it injected for about 3 years. 

We tried about 20 times to get the left lead out of the jump- with me putting my right leg back, left leg forward, and opening the left rein inward, having him almost in haunches in as we approached the jump, and even cantering up to the jump and he just wouldn't take the left lead out of the jump.  Well, we FINALLY got Louie to take his left lead out of a jump by managing to get him to approach a line of 6 caveletti followed by 2 bounces and go over with his left leg first.  By the way, we did that gymnastic about 3 times before he finally timed it right to get his proper leg going into the line. 

Louie did a good job and is a very willing and able jumper, just not so loving of his left lead right now.  I think he'll be plenty capable of showing in the Saddlebred shows in the Saddle & Bridle classes, as I don't think they care what lead you land the jump in. 

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