One or the Other

So I have been figureing out that I have one of two types of rides on Jake. I can either have a good flat work day in which Jake will work in a long and low, and be soft on the bit, or I can have a decent horse over fences. Not both....never both. Then sometimes when I'm really unlucky I will get neither.

Had a lesson today that I was really looking forward to. Yet I could tell from the moment I got on that once again Jake was not in a soft and forward mood. He still was fighting the moving off of leg and was moving at a crawl, but with high leg action. Making it a rougher ride than normal and I knew he wasn't stepping under himself. I felt like I was getting more of a workout from squeezing and trying to encourage him to move forward. He wasn't in the mood to go onto the bit either. He was tense in his neck only flexing at the poll. My instructor kept having me push forward while sliding the inside rein to try and encourage him to drop his head.

Though he was being reluctant to move into the bit, he didn't try and do any unasked sidesteps and haunches in. (His new favorite protest move). And he did great at the canter. Which made me happy.

Then my instructor set up a small course, a 2' wall on the diagonal to outside small 2' vertical flower box to outside line which was a ground pole 6 strides then a 2'3 vertical. Despite Jake's uptight mood he did great over the fences. Each fence was trot into with a single ground pole to help him find a take off spot. He didn't rush anything or grab the bit from me. That made me proud. He still expects a fight from me so he gets defensive and raises his head high the last few strides to the fence. Yet I've just been leaving him alone to help him figure it out on his own. Today he was also not over jumping and using his hind quarters correctly. There was the sound of his hooves brushing the top poles but he only knocked down one rail out of 4-5 courses. That was only because he dropped a back leg too fast, which is fine because normally he gets too close and knocks it with his front. I must say it made me very proud. He was calm as can be and I could feel the diference of him actually using himself properly instead of throwing himself over the jumps. He also was calm on the back sides, kept his stride nice until I asked for a downwards transition and nicely slid into it.

Then my instructor gave me tons of praise on waiting to the jump to come to us. I have a horrible habit of jumping the jump for Jake. I lean forward and go into two point too quick. A habit that was developed after I got used to Jake rushing. Yet I had been riding a few other, consistant horses and really working on my timing and just being paitent. Apparently it has paid off, because my trainer told me this was the best jumping I've done on Jake, and the best timing, since she has seen me ride.

I notice Jake was getting a little gimpy, so I told my trainer we were done for the day. This may be the reason he didn't want to stretch out earlier, but he had shown no signs of being lame. So our ride was cut short at about 25-30 minutes. But he wasn't even sweaty or stressed, so it was a great ride. It was positive, which is what I always try to end on.

He got a nice meal of his normal grain, with carrots and a little bit of bute. He will get tomorrow off and I'll see how he is doing on friday. He is due to get shod, and the farrier is coming out on monday. I am going to tell him to leave Jake longer and not round the toe, hopefully he wont be so sore this time.