I seems to me that everyday is a mini roller coaster at the moment with as many highs as there is lows. This is better than all lows but I have to admit to finding the 50/50 ratio a little disappointing, it would be nice to have more highs and less lows! Hopefully over time that will happen for us.
Back at the start of last week I planned to lunge in the pessoa on the Monday as I usually do, time is limited on a Monday and doesn't usually allow for riding! Anyway I also had to fit in a dentist appointment which would have been ok if it not for the fact I was left waiting 40minutes for my appointment and then another 15minutes after waiting for my paperwork to be send to the receptionist so all in all for a straight forward check up that usually takes about 5minutes I was in there over an hour! Thanks to this I was left with no time to do anything with Jack other than check him over so he enjoyed an unplanned day off in the field. On the Tuesday I decided to take him out into the large back fields which have just been cleared of hay and currently empty. There are some nice flat areas which you can school on plus a bank to ride up and down and if you go right to the far end of the field you can have a nice long slightly up hill gallop back (great for getting them fit for eventing or just having a good blast!) you can also get down into the river for a bit of water practice too! Anyway not being quite ready for uphill gallops just yet I decided to just try a bit of schooling in the open and then have a walk round the field and use the back to do a bit of walking up and down hill. I was really pleased with Jack, he was more forward in the open and actually did what felt like some really nice work, he was much softer to the left than normal and was staying straight and going forward most of the time which was so different to in the ménage. We only walked and trotted but was happy with the session. I cooled him off with a walk round the edge of the field and up and down the bank a few times. The newly located xc jumps were really tempting but we just walked around them, I didn't think our first jump in about 9months should be over solid fences out in the field on our own!
Wednesday and Thursday were lunging days in the pessoa, Wednesday on the flat and Thursday over raised poles. Jack was a bit reluctant again but once warmed up and moving lunged well especially over the poles.
Friday was an exciting day as it was the day we were booked to have a photoshoot with Chrysalis photography which I had won on their facebook competition last autumn. I booked the afternoon off work and arrived at the yard at 11am to begin the mammoth task of cleaning up Jack! The weather forecast was awful but so far the rain was holding off so I bathed and brushed and trimmed Jack to a presentable state and then dashed home to get myself ready. Then the rain came and it didn't stop, Chris the photographer arrived and we sat and waited for a bit but with no sign of the rain stopping we decided to rearrange the shoot for another, hopefully less wet day! I gave Jack a little loose school and then went home and used the few free hours I now had to catch up on a huge pile of ironing - exciting eh!
I arrived at the yard on Saturday afternoon with the plan I would put a little jump up in the field and see how Jack felt about jumping. Just as I arrived Claire one of the other liveries pulled up and she had the same idea as me so we carried a couple of poles and barrels out to the field and constructed a tiny cross pole! We walked them round the field together then split up to warm them up properly, Jack was reluctant to go away from Rango Claire's horse but he didn't do anything wrong just needed a bit more leg where as heading towards him he was much more forward! As this would be my first time cantering Jack in a few weeks we decided to canter together to encourage Jack to get moving a bit. The first canter was away from home and nice and sedate with no rushing, racing or silly antics. We turned for home and picked up canter again but Jack was much more forward this time racing ahead and enjoying himself then all of a sudden he stuck his head down and started broncing on the spot! This has happened before so luckily I was prepared and I managed to sit up and get his head up to stop him before being deposited in the dirt and was quite glad I had decided to wear my body protector!
At this point I put him on a 20m circle around rango and Claire and cantered him on both leads to get him settled. He was fine to the right but less than enthusiastic to the left and took a lot of leg to get him going. It wasn't pretty and he was crooked and in counter bend for most of it but the important thing for me was that he cantered when asked and didn't misbehave which we managed.
So after this it was time to tackle our long awaited first jump since Oct 14.
The jump was tiny, he could have stepped over it if he wanted to! Claire positioned herself the other side of the jump so Jack would be wanting to go that way back towards his mate, I trotted into it was over we popped no hesitation, no drama, no messing just trot - jump - trot like it was nothing I gave him a massive pat and took him over on the other rein, this time he was more enthusiastic as he now knew we really were jumping he picked up canter himself a few strides out and popped over beautifully. I was so chuffed with him. It is a major milestone to get this first jump done and I never expected it to go so well. I didn't do anymore with him, it's always tempting to push for more but I am very cautious of not doing too much too soon so Claire had a little jump too then we walked down to the river and back to cool them off.
Our yard owner is putting a line of xc fences in down the length of the field next week and hopefully we will get to use them over the coming weeks!
Sunday was appalling weather so Jack ended up with a day off again making sure he got rid of any clean patched left from Fridays bath!
I took some pics of him as he looks now as we are about to start using Spirulina to see if that can help support his topline development. I will take some more in a few weeks to see if it is having any effect.
I am starting to worry about his continued reluctance to work, he is fine hacking out so I am really hoping it is just a matter of time and not anything more serious.