So now that the dust has settled and I've had several awesome rides on Papi, I think I have an idea on what to do with him. He loves to jump. Seriously loves to jump. Nothing big right now, 2'6" is about what we can cruise around at, but it makes his ears prick up and makes him happy as a clam. So what do you do with a horse that loathes cross country (omg big scary outdoors!) and isn't very fast but loves to jump?
Hunters and eq.
He takes a very hunter ride, no winding up or popping up. You just set your canter and hold still. I was definitely having a flash back when I was jumping him around to my many, many lessons on getting out of the way and being quiet. Does he want to be a low level hunter and mini-medal horse? Maybe.
The trainer (I'll call her Trainer R, since I don't like to use full names that Google might decide need to be search hits) is going in for surgery on her foot, so I'm going to be riding with Trainer A full time for awhile. Trainer A is the eventer, so yay, jumping! She has also been filling me in a bit with Theo's past. He hasn't had a lot of technical training, probably just last year and this year. Before that it was all behavioral. Evidently they got him because he terrified his owner and broke her back.
He's much better now, of course, but most of his education has been walk, trot, canter and don't be an a**. Now it's walk, trot, canter, jump, carry yourself, change leads, have some speed control, and don't fall on your own face. Oh yeah, and still don't be an a**. Putting lead changes on this horse is going to be quite the circus. A couple weeks of transition work has already taught him to carry his own butt so there's hope.
Today Trainer A introduced us to the circle of hell. Trot poles on a 20 meter circle, so he has to turn and go over trot poles neatly at the same time. He did it surprisingly well and some of it even translated to our work back out on the rail. He's learning to cope with me carrying a dressage whip so I can now touch his rump and remind him that it exists. It's quite effective, I just set it against him and he'll engage more. The canter is still a bit of a twitching wreck, but we're getting there. I refuse to carry him and he's learning that breaking from the canter doesn't get him a break with me, it gets him a spank. I can't even consider anything other than a clumsy simple change until he learns to maintain the canter for himself.
But yeah, there are some shows coming up with hunter over fences and eq classes that I think would be a good place for him to pick up some miles. I'm eligible for the modified adult eqs since I haven't done a recognized h/j show in ten years. I'm so old. I can do the over 35 divisions now and it makes me want to cry a bit.
2'3" and 2'6" is right in his wheel house right now if I can convince him to just go in there and get to work. That, of course, is the actual challenge. No point in putting in a lovely canter and neat changes if he spazes and spins. Guess I'll just have to keep torturing the poor thing every time I see him so he learns that nothing is going to eat him on my watch. I have a blue tarp and helium balloons and I know how to use them!