Some days he’s on fire

Johnny and I headed back down the hill today to jump my little four jump course. We tackled it last week, but it did not go well. I’ve been trying to force the canter to the fence with limited success, so today I kept him to a trot (except between fences). I trotted him over the lowest fence on the buckle and just let him sort it all out–over and over we went until he stopped building speed right in front of the fence. Then we moved to the next fence. Again, I trotted him over it, again and again–coming from both directions straight on and at an angle. Then we moved on to related fences. We probably jumped more today in one session than we usually do in a week. To his credit, he gave more effort today than he usually does–truly trying instead of just using momentum and his massive size to launch over the fence. He felt light on his toes and bouncy instead of heavy and dragging. He’s so hit or miss with stadium jumping. I get the feeling that he’s had a series of very unpleasant experiences in the showjumping ring, because he’s a completely different horse on cross-country–happy, relaxed, and jumping for the sky. I suppose the lesson learned today was that we need to stick to trotting over fences until his canter is fully adjustable. We’ve been focusing on the canter in dressage with some progress, but he gets winded too quickly to really work on lots of transitions within the gait. It’s definitely time for the surgery–I just need to find the funding…
We got our new Myler bit in last week as well. I’ve ridden him in it twice and wasn’t sure it made much of a difference until I rode him in his regular bit today. I will be switching him over to the Myler bits full time. I don’t think it’s necessarily the special features of the bit as the smaller circumference and curved relief. As I suspected, he needed some tongue relief. It’s no miracle bit, that’s for sure, but he doesn’t try nearly as hard to spit it out. Today he was continually chomping, opening his mouth, trying to spit out his regular thick snaffle.

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