Saturday, April 30, 2011

First jumping lesson!

I don't know that you could call it jumping, but we had our first jumping lesson yesterday!

We started out trotting over some poles and that went great (we've been doing poles at home and Mac is just good about where he puts his feet anyway). So then we did a crossrail on a circle. He was very unimpressed and only trotted over it. We did that in both directions. Then we did a trot-in/trot-out crossrail to crossrail. Again he was not impressed and only trotted over it. Our biggest problem is going straight so that's what I tried to focus on. Coach was interested in having him do more of a "jump" so she put scary flower boxes in front of the crossrail (it could be alarming to him because he hadn't seen them before so he would perhaps have more of a "reaction" or desire to go over it instead of just across). He did take a little peek and do a bit of a jump, but just the first time. After that he didn't care anymore so continued to just trot over the crossrail. So then she put the crossrail up to a vertical with the flower boxes in front. He did a bit more of a jump but not consistently. I guess that is really what I want, though, for him to be unimpressed and not scared of the obstacle and go over if I ask him to. Of course, we need to work on straightness.

I'm signed up to do a small cross country clinic in a few weeks so hope to get a couple more jumping lessons under out belt before then!

Growing up . . . or out

It appears that Mac has grown from his training such that I think his western saddle might not be fitting him quite right anymore. I pulled out Colin's old jumping saddle that we used on our QH a few years ago and this time it seems to fit better. (I had tried this saddle on Mac when I first got him but it was too wide.) I've been riding in that for a couple weeks and he seems to like it. I do have a call in to the saddle fitter to come check things out. I've been going back and forth about wanting a dressage saddle. I LOVE my western saddle and if I could make that work then I think that would be my first choice. I like having a jumping saddle because, well, I hope to do some jumping with Mac. The western saddle is so comfortable for trail riding.

Speaking of trail riding, we went out for the first time since he got back and had a great ride. He is just sooooo good on the trails! We went down the steepest trail that scares the snot out of me and I've never gone down on it (I have gone up) because I don't like downhills! But on Mac, I felt confident and he was very sure footed and good. Here's a view from the bottom.

Then when we got to the bottom I noticed that a trail that had been closed for a couple years was now open. Trouble was, there was a tree that had fallen across it.

I was confident that Mac and I could go over it and that's just what we did. He didn't bat an eye and I wasn't worried.

Here's a picture from my viewpoint.

New friend

Well new old friend, that is. Mac and Tomato have always been friends over the fence but I never put them out together because I didn't want anyone to get hurt. They are both dominant and show it by kicking out at the other horse (but not people!).

I decided, though, that I didn't want Paddy to keep getting pushed around by Mac so I put Mac and Tomato out together. It was so uneventful I couldn't believe it. They sniffed noses, then shared a pile of hay.

And that was it. They are good buddies and like to hang out together. Without much pomp and circumstance it was decided that Tomato is on top, then Mac, then Paddy.

Back home

I've been so bad about posting, bad me! I even went so far as to take pictures to put up last month but never did anything about it. So here's a short recap. Mac was at trainer's for three months. The last month he was there we had HORRIBLE weather - very cold rain storms and howling winds. Mac doesn't wear a blanket and he REFUSED to go into his shed because the way the door is situated he cannot stand and look out and see all the other horses. So one day I decided I would move him, but he wouldn't let me catch him. It was the worst weather day - sideways wind, freezing cold rain - I was soaked in about a minute so I gave up and hoped that he'd be ok.

The next day I went out and the weather was still bad but he let me catch him and move him to another paddock that had a better situated shed that was bigger and totally open on one side. He could look out and see all the other horses and there was also grass in there so he was happy.

My friend at the barn took a couple pictures of him while he was out in the pasture one day.

So at the beginning of April I brought Mac home. I missed him so much, it was nice to have him back!