My poor jumping monkey! But.. he loves it. And WOW!!! He is jumping better than he's ever jumped before. I'm so ecstatic! We went to Wishing Tree today and had so much fun. We worked on the canter mostly. And I was giggling because as I'm getting on and warming up I'm telling Beth how Cindy "yelled at me" about the trot and then realize... Crud!! I'm doing that stupid fast choppy trot again! Doh. Ha ha.. So after a few strides, I got a nice trot. And then we did a short little canter each way and went to work. We started with a trot pole to a vertical and Beth wanted me to get him rocked back on his hiney, although not necessarily collected. I mean yes, she wanted that nice bouncy upper level dressage canter, but not cranked. And then I was allowed to let him out just a bit to move up to a fence if needed as long as he didn't lengthen and get flat. And the trot pole really helped with that. So we did it both leads a few times and then she raised it and we did it a few more times. I finally got the hang of it. Well, that's not true. It didn't take me near as long as it has in the past to get the hang of it. Our jumping canter is really coming along!
So then we worked on a "terrain" question. It was just three smaller jumps set up on the hills with valleys in between. Like a roller coaster. Only to a much less degree than the skinny coops we just played with at Chatt Hills. So I thought, no sweat! Ha!! I don't know why, but Fleck spooked and almost went backwards the first time through. I had to ride him HARD, but we did it. Then the second time wasn't much better. Beth wanted me to get 6 instead of 5, although she said the 6 was comfortable too. I heard that as "ride him very collected" so I think we got 7, almost 8. Argh. I tried again and it wasn't any better. She said that I needed to ride a plan. Regardless of whether I chose the wrong plan or not. I was waiting too long to see that my distance was off and waiting too late to try to make corrections. So we tried again and I got it. Phew. I think I was thinking I would have to collect but really I just needed to ride smoothly and he made the 6 easily.
Then we moved on to some courses. They were fun! We did the trot pole, to a natural (hanging stick) skinny (which shared a standard with the corner), to a triple, to a fan, to an oxer or two, and then two upright barrels. Okay, well not in that exact order but those fences. Beth said that I needed to pick a plan and ride THAT plan. She would rather me ride the wrong plan than just sit there and not pick a plan. We did pretty darn good! I lost my canter a few times and got a little panicked and held him instead of half halting and releasing but I also got his canter back a few times and was very good about keeping him balanced and connected through our turns. And I stuck to my plan! I jumped into the roller coaster line fairly big and bold so I yelled out "FIVE" and we did it in five. As we landed over the second in the line I yelled out "FIVE" again and sure enough.. we did it in five. Yay me! Then we did another course and came to the corner for the first time. Poor Fleck... I tried to get to the most narrow part and then sort of chickened out, so he didn't know which jump to jump. Since i didn't tell him, he opted for the skinny and ducked right and jumped that one. Ha ha.. They did share a standard! But once I committed myself and told him THIS JUMP.. he did great.
Then she raised the jumps a hole or two and sure enough... I panicked and did nothing and it fell apart. BUT... the good news is that the second attempt, I was able to pull myself together and RIDE and it was mostly VERY GOOD!! I was pleased! So was Beth. And so was Fleck! Like I said.. he's seriously jumping better and better each time! And I was quite pleased with my leg too. I tried to fold at the hip and it seemed to help. And Beth's alternating half halts are helping too because it's reducing my holding. Yay!!! So I just need to make sure that I'm not holding, I'm not allowing him to lengthen and run past his spot, and that I am going with him and not relying on the rein and him to pull me with him. But that in doing that, I'm not jumping ahead. That's all ;)