We trailered out to Busy Bee Ranch & Landfill (I always have to type that out, it cracks me up) for a jumping lesson this afternoon. Jasper, as usual, was a sweaty shaking mess when we got there but surprisingly he calmed down after I walked him around for 15 minutes. Like really calm. Like standing tied at the trailer without pawing or screaming. He let me groom and saddle him without knocking me over.
I dunno, it was hot.
Walked up to the jumping arena and there was no mounting block so I got on from the ground. And he stood there. First. time. ever.
It was hot?
We warmed up and Regina asked me if when I'm posting the trot if he likes it when I'm sitting or standing. Huh? She repeated her question and I admitted I didn't know, but that I've always tried to stay off his back because he's a baby. Um, was. Is?
So I started posting the trot sitting heavy like I had a 200 pound weight on my head pushing me down. He started using his hind end, back legs coming up underneath him. Then I switched it up and put all the emphasis on the rising part of the trot. He went back to his normal choppy trot stride.
THAT was a big breakthrough. All horses are different. Some like you to sit, some like you to stand. He responds when I sit and tries to bounce me out of the saddle.
On to trot poles and I got in trouble for not sitting in the down part of the posting and letting him bounce me out of the saddle. The second time it totally clicked. Connection.
We did some simple low stuff, talked about position when jumping which I totally needed (man it's nice to have eyes on the ground)!!!
We ended by doing trot-canter transitions. He had a lot of trouble with these before when I was riding with Jessica, and we found something that worked. I would kind of let him trot into them by giving him "get ready" cues for 2 or 3 strides then sit and ask. By that time he was ready to canter and would simply fall into the canter simply and smoothly. Success meant he didn't come off the bit. Yes, it's a good way to teach babies (especially TBs apparently) how to canter. I found out we're not a baby any more, and he basically does the transition and 3 strides later is on his forehand.
We would trot, and canter 2 or 3 strides or until he went on the forehand, then transition to trot again. Trot a few steps and ask for canter by sitting (there's that sitting word again), rinse and reapeat. And... he got it. He really did. It was easier for him to canter using his hind end than to do all those dang transitions. We got at least 3/4 of a circle each direction in the end.
It's great because I feel like I have lots of homework I can do on my own for quite a while. I am an eventer, after all. :)
As far as the tongue over the bit, Regina suggested something made out of rubber. Possibly a straight type of bar. Anyone have any experience with these? Is there really a difference between the Happy Mouth and the Nathe (besides $50 and that they're shaped slightly differently)? I know people rave about the Nathes.
I'm also looking into the Australian noseband.