Tonight was going to be an intro to jumping for Koda. We're still working on the loading, and it's getting better. Instead of getting stalled right in front of the trailer, we're getting stalled with the one front, or both front hooves up in the trailer. I know he can load, and he knows that I know, but we're just working on our relationship together (and this is just fine with me!). It was super cool tonight when I walked out to the field to bring Koda in; the herd was in the far corner of the field (about 3 acre field, not super huge) and when I walked out and called to him, he looked up, saw me, and trotted over.
This has never happened to me before, and it has been one of those little girl dreams of having the horse that will come trotting to me when I call, leaving the herd behind. Allow me to say that I may have danced a little happy jig of joy :)
Anyways, on our way to the arena, the truck started to overheat for some reason which we're still not too sure about. A friend that is auto-savy came and checked it out at the arena and he didn't see anything remiss. Either way, we tacked up and started our ride. The ride was really good to start, very forward in his walk, did a little lateral work and dorsal flexion. We got into our trot work and again, did some lateral work, circles and serpentines, and a touch of dorsal flexion as well. Had a BEAUTIFUL 20 m circle with Koda moving forward into the contact, lifting his back, and using his hind end. This one circle was the absolute highlight of the ride!
Which doesn't bode well for the jumping. We set up 3 trot poles into a cross rail, stride, cross rail. first time through was nothing spectacular, Koda lost all impulsion and forward (clue #1) once we got to the first cross rail. This continued as we built the gymnastic. This had me thinking, ok, need to get more forward. Decided to work on some canter, which I know from the history I got from the previous owner that he hasn't had much work on (clue #2). Right lead canter was rough, as expected, but existed. Left lead... not so much. I have a feeling this is mostly due to me being a more dominant to the right rider, particularly when I'm not fit (like I am now) and Koda going naturally better to the right than the left. After this I was worried about him being off and that I hadn't caught it, or something, so I hopped off and tossed him on the line to see what was up. He cantered just fine both ways (clue #3).
SO! Now that I've been forced to look at where we're at and what we need, we have a new game plan:
1) Fitness is the key - work the cardio vascular system and the correct muscles (on both Koda and I)!
2) Balance is the second key - keep working in balance within the gaits and balance the training regime
3) Find the left lead - it's in there somewhere!