It's kind of important to practice at least once or twice before a show. Or so people keep telling me. And riding a jump course is a bit complicated, it takes some practice. There's a lot going on when you've got to turn and jump them in sequence. A specific sequence, they frown when you just make the course up. Believe me, I've tried. Did you know they have bells in jumping, too? Or a buzzer. But unlike dressage, you don't take an error and keep going. Go off course, your ride is over.
It did dawn on me this week that I haven't jumped a course since . . . last year? Just some grids and exercises to keep Theo happy as a dressage pony. I haven't memorized and jumped a course since our three phase last year. Yikes, that's a lot of rust.
Trainer A is a smart lady.
So today we found this when we went in the indoor. We warmed up in the outdoor, then marched into the indoor. One quick canter around and then right through the course. Trainer A has never heard of a simple straight line in a course, by the way. Lots of bending lines and short approaches off the wall. One full fledged roll back. The fences were all 2'6" or 2'9". The two stride was set long and we did it in three, but it was an organized three that we rode with intent. I knew on take off for the first fence that we weren't going to make the distance, so landed thinking 'short'. After spending all of last winter mastering the short jumping canter, we fit three in quite neatly.
Keep in mind, the indoor is just a bit longer than a small dressage ring. It's about 22 meters wide and about 50 meters long.
I've got to say, it's nice to be back in the jumping saddle. All of that dressage work has made Theo a very rideable horse. Turn on a dime? Sure, no big deal. Shorten it up? No problem. Engage? Takes a little at the start, but we've got some engine now. And he's so darn honest that I don't worry about the fences. I'm back to jumping in a half seat between fences since he's learning to carry himself without my help. And that big ol' booty can really plant and push. When we did the course again, I pushed for the long two stride and got it. He planted and went for the long distance so calmly, it wasn't a big effort for him. I could see him strolling through a 3' hunter course without flicking an ear.
Assuming we could get him to have a consistent 12' stride, but Trainer A said that would be a good project for the winter. We installed the short stride, now he needs a long stride. The canter lengthen practice will help our First 3 and our jumping.
Saturday I'm going out early to do some supervised jump schooling to make sure Theo and I have our groove back enough to get around the course at our schooling show. Should be a very stress free day. Beginner Novice dressage and a 2'7" stadium course? It's like a day at the beach.