Much fun was had in jumping lesson this weekend. :) I'm learning much more about Apollo, his tendencies, and his needs for jumping success, and of course I'm learning lots about myself, my tendencies, and my needs!
We started with a very simple line: a skinny 4x4 with flowers set in it on the ground, 4 strides, cross-rail, 5 strides, another skinny flower thing on the ground. This wore out real quick for both Apollo and Grayson, so we moved on to skinny vertical - 4 stride - bigger X - 5 stride. Much practice on rider position and rating the horses correctly between the fences.
Here was where we discovered that Apollo can be pretty casual with his hind feet. I've heard in the past that if a horse knocks a rail with its front feet, it's the rider's fault, but if the horse hits the rail with the hind feet, it's the horse's doing. I don't know if that's true, but there you have it. Anyway, Apollo dinged the rails with his hind feet more than a few times. In response, MT put a much heavier -- and rather skinnier! -- rail made of a fence post into the cups. Apollo jumped it nicely a few times, and then we changed the pattern: through the line as we had been doing, turn all the way right, come back and jump the center fence on an angle, turn all the way left, come back and jump the center fence on an angle the other way, then turn left again and come through the line opposite the way we had been. So it was 4 to 5 stride line, figure 8, then 5 to 4 stride line.
All went well until I didn't get a good line to the heavy-rail skinny on the way back into the line. Heh. Oops. There was a jump cup on the standard that was juuuuust in line with my foot ... Apollo had nothing to do with the destruction of that jump that time. Heh. It didn't hurt, so on we went ... and you can bet I was very, very careful to get good lines thereafter. (Today, though, I can feel where I hit it. Whoops. ;) ) We did a few more variations on the lines, had more fun, and then we were done.
Anyway, so yes. Very fun lesson. I got much better with my position and getting the riding done between fences as things went on. MT suggested that Apollo could do with some free-jumping, so I'll probably go ahead with that starting this week instead of having our resident European ride him on Fridays. Then we'll go back to the original plan.
Still love that horse. :)