I am so excited to write this blog today because in our schooling session this week Basil and I CANTERED over a pole on the ground! This is a huge step for us.
Over the last couple of months we have been progressing through the paces over single poles. Initially when I placed a pole and asked Basil to walk over it he hesitated and then jumped it. After a couple of tries he stopped hesitating but still jumped. The next session we did little 'hops' over the poles, which was a step forward. The main thing with Basil is trying to keep him calm, as with many thoroughbreds he gets excited easily and this is made worse if I ask too much of him at once. He gets over-excited and can become uncontrollable. Over the next couple of sessions we carried on at walk until he was just walking calmly over the poles.
Once this was the 'norm' we started approaching the poles in trot, again initially this ended with a jump over the pole! After a few more sessions we managed to achieve a calm trot over the poles too. However, I have been nervous to try the poles in canter. Basil is often strong in his canter and if he gets excited can put in the odd buck. In this week's session he was being so good, even with the farmers bird scarer in the next field, that I decided to risk it! OMG I am so glad I did, not only did he maintain his canter rhythm but he did not jump the pole - even the first time. I can't quite believe it and I must remember not to be over confident next time as he still might jump the pole next time.
This is all part of my slow and steady moves towards jumping again, I am trying to make it really a non-event because we will build up to it so slowly. As much for me as for Basil I need him to remain calm and just approach fairly sensibly - I hope this works.
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Until next time!