Well I drove up to see my pony today. The whole drive up it was super sunny and nice so I figured I would take Jetta on a trail ride, but no. I started longeing her and it started pouring out almost immediately. She was a little lazy at first, the BO said she turned Katy and Jetta out together and they were running around "like idiots". I set out some barrels as a jump and lunged her over them for the first time. I walked her up to them and let her sniff them then asked her to trot over them. The first few times were interesting as she would almost stop before taking a huge leap over them so I just kept asking her to go over it and gave a cluck a couple strides out to ask her to move forward over it.
Then came the unwanted advice. "Have you ever considered putting a ground pole down so she prepares for the jump? I used to train for eventing and we would put three or four ground poles down so my horse would move his weight onto his hind end. I mean that's just my advice, I wouldn't want her to lose confidence and it's dangerous for her and you. Then after she jumps just stop and be done with the lesson and move on to something else."
Now usually I don't mind getting advice, especially if I'm struggling and it's something new and helpful as well as it's put in a nice, not condescending way. This just made me feel like she thought I wasn't doing it right. I may not be a professional trainer, but I am certainly not a novice at training horses.
So what bugged me about her "advice" was 1) I was not struggling. Sure Jetta had a few funky jumps when she hesitated before the jump, but she was doing well. 2) She said it in a way that made it sound like she didn't approve or feel like what I was doing was correct and 3) I had already tried some of her "advice" and it didn't work with Jetta or I was already currently doing it.
Whenever I jump Jetta, I ask her to go over it and do it nicely, so she has to pick up her feet and go over the jump, not around it. When she does it, I'll praise her and ask for her to stop and take a breather. The first time I'll have her trot over and then once she does that well I'll ask her to canter. After I thanked the person for her advice I had Jetta jump a few more times and she did both directions perfectly.
Then I got on. Definitely not as good a session in the saddle as on the ground. She did great at the walk, fantastic shoulder-ins and small leg yeilds. Then the trot was a little all over the place. She wanted to go fast and wanted to stick her nose out with her head up. I let her do an extended trot for a bit on a loose rein but she kept cantering and then she wouldn't slow back down to a trot. Sigh... So we did lots of serpentines and I asked her to do some shoulder-ins. At first it was really bad because I'd put my leg on and she'd just go faster so I had to remind her that leg does not always mean forward. Then we did end up getting a few ok shoulder-ins but she would slow down to a walk or when I released her she would spring forward (which is what she's supposed to do) but then she wouldn't listen to slow down again.
Once we got all that sorta fixed we had a pretty good canter - she's really improved in learning to carry herself, I'm so pround of her! I popped her over a little X a few times and then we were done, but boy did she make this ride difficult. She always wants to GO and go fast.
I rode Katy after I was done with Jetta and she did ok, better than Jetta but not as good as she could have done. She was much more responsive to my leg, but very tense, so we did some long and low. I jumped her over the barrels and set the X up to a vertical. She did ok but she was being a bit of a brat and trying to veer off before the jump so we addressed that and by the end we had a good jump both directions. She also did several nice walk-canter transitions with correct leads and everything.
Overall, it was just one of those days and I think that the weather has contributed to my slightly dismal mood, not to mention "advice" I got, though I was probably in a bad mood to begin with and I'm just overreacting to the advice. I'm hoping to haul Jetta home for a lesson with JF soon so that should improve our rides. What I will appreciate is advice on how to teach her to slow more easily. I use my body and breathing to slow down, which works 75% of the time, the other 25% she doesn't listen and I have to use the reins and she braces against the bit and I have to really work to slow her down, sometimes circling her and it's just kinda messy.
Ok, my rant is over. I'm sure I'll cheer up soon with Christmas right around the corner, but I'm already done with this winter weather! It should be sunny or it should snow, but I do not like all this wind and rain. I guess I'm just being a whiner today ;)