Got my video up of the cross country schooling at Chatt Hills. You know what? I am REALLY happy with my riding. I think I'm doing a better job at sitting up and supporting, and not chasing so much.
Had a really nice jump school on Friday. Set up small jumps; nothing over 2'6, and had mostly 2' and 2'3. I actually did set up the exercise I said I would:)
A 6 stride outside line; an offset vertical 3 strides after the 2nd jump in the line. Cav stack oxer (low) set dead center of the ring, parallel with the long sides. Single on the opposite outside, even with the first jump in the 6 stride line; that one had the barrel underneath it. Warmed up with some quiet trot and some spirals. He felt a little stiff today in the mouth and neck; I tried to stay really soft, and let go with my hands as much as possible. Concentrated on keeping my outside hand low and with a quiet, constant contact. Tried to focus on forward, but slow trot. Really sat the trot into my canter, focused on leading with my belly button. He felt good, but definitely a little bit on the resistive side! Goober.
Warmed up over the first jump in the outside line, a x rail. Cantered in. I didn't have the neck strap today, because I don't want to become dependant on it. It's supposed to be an "Oh Crap" handle on the xc course for my piece of mind, and for Tiki's mouth. I didn't have my stirrups tied or anything today; did have on spurs but no stick. Felt really good over the x. Did the circle exercise: Left lead to oxer in the center, reverse in the air and right circle, jump oxer and reverse in the air, left circle, jump oxer and reverse in the air, turn right then jump the 6 stride line. I didn't do too much over the oxer ... just looked and opened my rein on landing. He felt super. Jumped the barrel vert by itself since the last time I tortured him over the barrel, it was literally stand alone ( he REALLY prefers it paired with something ... a pole, some standards, etc). He was perfect over it:) Jumped the 3 stride offset line so it didn't take him by surprise; no problem whatsoever. Moved on to my next exercise:
Left lead to oxer, reverse to right lead, canter 3 stride offset line, continue right lead back to oxer in opposite direction, reverse and turn left, then jump the offset line the opposite direction, halt. That was absolutely super. His canter felt amazing. It was light, it was powerful, it was uphill ... I asked him to bend in the correct direction then totally softened and let GO, and he jumped beautifully. Distances felt just right; not perfect, but acceptable all around.
Last exercise was left lead to 2nd jump in the 6 stride line, a tight left 4 stride bending line to the oxer, then a tight right 4 stride bending line to the barrel vert. So, a serpentine. I felt just ok through it the first time. Made sure to get him to the jump correctly, and aggressively opened my rein in the air to make the turns, but I realized after jumping the 3rd jump that I had done my opening reins totally backwards, and his head had come up defensively after every jump.:( Sorry Tiki. Came again after a nice deep breath, and concentrated on keeping my body back, looking with my eyes, and a FORWARD opening rein in the air ... it felt GREAT. I mean, really really great.
Final exercise was the serpentine backwards starting with the barrel jump. This time, it was on him to not be perfect; at the last second, he made a bid and a hard jump at the barrel going in the opposite way. That caused us to stick in an extra, stabbing stride to the oxer, but the final vert coming out was good. Tried one more time, and sand my favorite "Row, Row, Row your boat" coming in. He still scrambled a little at the barrel, but the last 2 were super nice. Quit there. Good boy!