Cantering over poles & jumping like a goat!

Firstly apologies for the delay in getting these videos live I have been plagued by pathetic upload speed for the last few weeks, waaah!

So this is what I’ve been up to with Dustry in my last few lessons…

we have been working on an essential flat work skill, crucial for when it comes to stringing a course of fences together, and that is cantering over poles on a circle. Sounds easy right?…well it’s not!!!

Since I began reschooling Dustry my instructor Amanda Brewer has always emphasised the importance of training a balanced and supple horse, that works equally on both reins. One exercise she uses to judge evenness is to trot on a 20m circle and at each 1/4 point on the circle change leg, so that for 2x 1/4’s of the circle you are trotting on the wrong leg. The aim of this is to highlight the difference between both reins, and which one needs more work. In an ideal horse you shouldn’t be able to tell the trots apart wrong leg or not.

On the circle in canter another good way to highlight a stiffness/weakness/area that needs more work in the canter is to try and canter over poles on each 1/4 of a 20m circle. We started with just the one pole, and built up to 3. On the left rein it was fairly easy once into the exercise to spot a good stride to each pole and meet them on a nice quality canter.

On the right rein however…..our right rein inadequacies really showed up! It was MUCH harder to ‘get him in the neck’ which impacted on the quality of the canter and in turn made it MUCH harder to see a good stride. As my instructor says ‘it’s not a stride you need to look for it’s the quality canter that’s essential, after that the strides will come’  and as always she was right!

So off we went with our homework, and this is the result after a week of practising, can you spot the difference?…

The next week in our lesson things were a little more exciting!!!!! Spring grass fever seemed to have taken hold of Dustry and he spent a large majority of the early part of the lesson on his back legs. Now whilst I admire a nice birds eye view of the countryside as much as the next person, I do prefer to ride at a slightly lower altitude, and thankfully he was easily convinced this might be a better plan too 😉 He did however have a bit of a relapse when we began jumping, and this was the result…..less bascule more jumping goat impression! (watch the vid to the end to hear the lols!)

So again back home we went with more homework, this time it was just to pop a little fence a few times during the week just to get him familiar with it, and jumping in a more relaxed, calm manner. I’m pleased to say he was fab at home, and managed to keep a lid on it in his next lesson, see video.

Because he’s not a natural jumper, and when stressed/excited/tense can revert to a rather disappointing style we are just keeping things small for now, and when he has a little more experience behind him we can then begin to build things up, and test his scope!

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