Friday, March 2, 2012

schooling greenies

I had two lessons today with two horse just starting to learn to jump. 
It is interesting to watch their reactions and work with their confidence level. 

One has only previously jumped a cross pole and a tiny vertical with a series of ground poles leading up to them.  Today we started introducing him to a gymnastic.  He had trouble focusing on two jumps so we worked with a cross pole, one stride to a tiny vertical.  He jumped the vertical well and trotted the cross pole.  The one time he jumped the cross pole he got to the vertical without seeing it and managed to hop over it.  He is pretty typical of the horses I have worked with, he is forward, willing, seems to think it is fun and gets a tiny bit better every time the exercise is repeated.  He is less confident than he first appears and is carefully trying things out, but happily.

The other has been going through small gymnastics and today jumped a few scattered small verticals.  This horse is a worrier but he seems to enjoy the jumping very much.  His progress goes in spurts and leaps.  The first time he jumped a one stride of cross poles he was totally focused on the second jump - an alien object had landing in front of him, requiring twice the jump as the first one.  He was tense, staring and alarmed for about 3 jumps.  Then he blew out a big snort and suddenly this was old hat and very fun.  Totally relaxed, an old hand at this job.  This has been his reaction to every change.  Total focus, a little worry and then a total pro who will show you how to do it.   Today he jumped some single jumps for the first time.  He was hesitant the first time at a trot, then confident, then asking to canter.  At the canter he was again hesitant and tense, and then suddenly totally relaxed. 
These horses have two different ways with coping with learning something new.  One is making small steady progress and comfortable with it.  The other has an on/off switch with nothing in between.

It is interesting to watch their expressions and watch the concerns come and go.  The worrier is practically putting on a silent drama, the other is more stoic. 


  1. Teaching horses to jump is one of my FAVOURITE things to do! It tells you so much about the horse and their temperament, and watching them progress is such a rewarding experience. It sounds like these two both have fantastic temperaments to help them on their way.

  2. They sure have their own personalities. Sounds like it is a lot of fun watching them learn new things. Glad you have some decent weather for lessons. :)


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