This rain is just killing me. My horses are out of shape, December's feet are a mess from being out in a wet pasture and shows keep getting cancelled. Sigh...
I'm trying my hardest to keep Charlie fit in case I find a buyer for him. Since we argue so much about the Western riding I decided to try something new to mix it up and see if I could find a way to communicate with this horse that didn't irritate the heck out of him. So, I decided to teach Charlie to jump. He's over 17 hands for goodness sakes he should be able to hop a small fence, right? I started him over poles and then a really small rail while lunging. I was a little nervous because half the time he wouldn't pick up his feet and he would just crash right through. He still wants to move like a pleasure horse with his head down making him look downhill but he's not. Then I had him hop some barrels which was good because they're solid enough he wanted to get over and things were looking up. After a couple of lunging sessions I decided it was time to get on him and see what he could do.
I set up a small cross rail and warmed him up. I'm working on pushing him into a higher headset and making contact with the reins. I'm probably completely screwing up his pleasure training but I think he's smart enough to figure out when I go back to the curb bit I want something different. I'm going to trust him on this one. Once we had worked up to the canter in each direction which was a lovely forward canter I slowed him back down to the trot and we trotted the line to the crossrail.
The first time he didn't pick up his feet soon enough and sure enough down came the whole fence. I just drove him forward with my whole body wanting at least to get a nice straight line before and after. I hopped down set up the jump again and we started over. This time we trotted in, his stride a perfect consistent speed as usual and he managed a lovely little jump from a great take off distance. Beautiful! Next I tried each direction at a canter and he was so perfect. His gaits are already so consistent that we got the distance every time. He's easy to keep on a straight line to the fence and to steer. I need to get some video to see what his feet look like but I think there's hope!
Here's to Charlie the giant jumping paint. Maybe I'll make a hunter out of him yet.