Cause that's what makes the world go round! Oh wait, no it isn't. That's just what makes Kate grumpy.
I had my first ride back after being on vacation (well... I consider three days away to be a vacation) and it was... enlightening. Recently I've been ruminating over putting some scary stuff under jumps, and seeing how Cadencde ould handle it. So today, in the absence of a lesson, I decided to try it. I dragged out three jumps, putting two on the diagonal and one on the long wall, and added pylons under two, and upside down water buckets on the side of the remaining diagonal.
Now, already I've made a couple of stupid mistakes. Firstly, Cadence has had a bit of a day on, day off, day on, day off schedule over the past week. She had just come off of three days on and three days off (with yesterday being off) so I should have flatted her. My rationale for jumping was that I didn't want her to go too long without jumping, lest she be too crazy when we finally got back around to it. In hindsight, I should have flatted today and jumped tomorrow. The ONE extra day wouldn't have killed her. But instead, I figured a brief lunge would suffice. My second mistake was starting off with three single fences. Whenever we canter fences, we've always done some gymnastic work first... so expecting her to jump these scarier fences with a totally different warm up was a big mistake on my part.
My third error came when I forgot to put on her martingale... whoops. I hate artificial aids (and include martingales in that category) but when your horse will grab the bit, nose in the air,a nd run three strides out from the jump? You're better off with the martingale.
The ride started off well enough; her warm up was adequate too. Though she was a little hesitant to rock back in the trot. (I later discovevered she'd lodged a massive stone in next to her frog, so perchance she didn't want to put too much weight on her hind end; though the rest of the ride indicated no such qualms) The issues came in that (even in the trot) she'd flatten out before the fences, and jump 'em flat & long. In the canter it was even worse, as she'd grab the bit & throw her head up before running at the jump.
When she wasn't doing that, she'd be stiff, grabby, and heavy in the hand. Not much fun. After three or four of these jumps (for lack of a better word) I tried bringing her back to a trot right before the fence. We hopped 'em nicely like that, but every now and again she'd just grab and run, adding a stride or two of canter in before the fence.
On to the next trick. I moved one of the diagonals over and made a gymnastic out of it and the fence on the long wall. Just a simple one stride set to like an inch or two shy of 18'. So in essence, set to 18'. We hopped over that a few times, then trotted the diagonal off of the gymnastic. All three fences were nice and calm, so we did the gymnastic twice more, and cantered in to the diagonal off of the second gymnastic. She lengthened a wee bit up to the diagonal, but there was no grabbing, and no running off so we called it quits and ended on a good note. Cadence doesn't need to be worked into the ground just because I set her up for failure instead of success.