And she said to put them up.
Ok, she didn't actually say those words, but she said to get out there, jump the mare and put her over something big enough to make her round her back and lift her belly.
We started with some trot poles (maybe 5 or 6?) and then canter poles, and then canter poles with a jump in the middle. Then a placing pole, two strides, jump, and a placing pole two strides after.
2'6", no need to use her body, 3'... meh. 3'3" not much more, 3'6" started to back the mare off and get her to round up. which I thought was pretty good. It was an inviting ramped oxer... not too wide, but a bit of depth for a nice shape..
Then S put both rails up another hole and I was given express instructions to hit my distance to the pole then RELAX and let Prairie manage herself up to and over the jump.
relax? uhhhhhhhhh I'll try.
it was great.
Then everything went up another hole.
UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I'll try?
Then they went up another hole!
AHHHHHHHHHHHH I'll try???????
And then there were no more holes to move up because we were literally at the top of the standards. So we just jumped that height a few times getting a nice rhythm and me trying to keep my body quiet and slow...
|Prair, hiding behind her humongous fence|
Also, I didn't die. The mare didn't do anything dirty or rude and it was totally fun. I have not jumped anything 4' or higher since high school. Which, for those keeping count was not exactly yesterday...
I think we topped out around 4'3"? I'll have to measure the standard at some point so I know what our high water mark is. But regardless I felt her back in a way I never have before and now I know what we're trying to replicate at lower heights. I'm ok dropping back under 3' for a bit now :) But nothing like a good adrenaline rush first thing in the morning....
The following day I headed out for a nice slow ride working pretty much only on long and low to let her stretch out and have an easy day after our efforts the previous day.
You'd think I'd know by now that there is no such thing as "sticking to a plan" with horses but it's amazing that I continue to try.
When I got to the barn one of our friends who regularly takes the All-Around high point award home with her cute Paint gelding was getting out her cart (!!) to practice driving. Knowing that Prairie would see said cart, decide it was chasing said cute gelding and would most certainly chase her after it caught and devoured him - I had two choices.
1. Play pretty-pretty-princess and groom the crap out of the mare until the death-cart was gone from the outdoor
2. Tack up in a rush and make the mare deal with the cart (being pulled around at a slow jog) while we rode.
The second options sounded way more fun to me so I threw tack on and scooted out to join in the cart pulling fun.
Or rather, I scooted - Prair on the other hand planted all four hooves like a mule and snorted at the cart from a safe distance of about 50 yards outside the ring.
Once we got actually in the arena and actually on, things stayed pretty entertaining. Prair was okay as long as she could see the cart, but if I circled away and she had to turn her back to it she got all sorts of wigged out and tried her best to spin out from under me.
It wasn't exactly the "relaxed, long... and low..." ride I was planning for, but it was a "productive" one.
After about 5 minutes the mare calmed down enough for us to get (sort of) to work. Much like our high flying adventures the day before, when we picked up the trot, the only thing I could think was "holy shit her back feels rad."
Now, there was a good two-Mississippi between her footfalls and I felt like I was in some medieval parade of knights, but omg she felt ahhhhhmaaaaaazing.
Also of note was that even with all the huffing and puffing and freaking-the-eff-out, Prair was shockingly light in my hand. It didn't feel like I had to have her on lockdown the whole time, but that I could ask for forward, and ask for her head to stay not in my lap and then relax for a bit without a legitimate feat that we would end up across the highway.
So we fake-passaged around the arena, Prair calmed down enough that we could follow the cart around the whole arena and worked through our W-T-C both ways. She never quite lost her super-inflated-lofty gaits, but I figured if we're supposed to be asking her to step up and round her back... freaking out about a cart sorta counts.
I, on the other hand, was exhausted. I really wouldn't have complained about a boring long and low hack... But that's not to say I didn't have a stupid grin on my face the whole time. :)