This morning I volunteered for the 2nd time at Warm Beach Christian Camp horsemanship program. What this means is that I help out with one of the lessons. I'm lucky because this lesson happens to be 4 girls who ride at a Level 2 (according to the Certified Horsemanship Association standards) and are starting to jump. I'm very interesting in learning how to break down the steps to get to jumping.
Last week was the first lesson of the 10-week session and we reviewed the different gaits, i.e. which leg moves in the walk, trot, canter. The girls rode over trot poles, ideally in a straight line. Riding straight was the challenge.
This week, I set up poles and brought in some jump standards. Even though riding over the poles last week was not perfect, and neither was the review this week, we still moved on to going over a cross rail. It's still cold outside so the horses are a bit fresh, especially when they're riders are a bit uncertain about the cross rail.
Lisa (horsemanship director) set up the exercise so that the girls walked in straight, trotted a couple strides before the poles, trotted out straight, then walked to the end. That mostly went well in terms of straightness so we went on to the cross rail. The first horse is really cute: Eben. I rode him during the jumping courses several weeks ago at the Certified Horsemanship Conference (CHA Region 1) and he is an enthusiastic jumper. His rider rode him straight and he tucked up his front legs like he was jumping a 4' jump, even though it was 18". Very cute. The second rider on a fuzzy Appaloosa, Patch, went over well too. The third rider was on another Appaloosa, Buckwheat, the horse I rode for the conference riding evaluation. I got a Level 3 on him (3 out of 4) because when I got on him I was warned that he was a lazy school so I may have asked him a little too hard to canter and he surprised me with a leap into the gait. Anyway, he is not lazy over jumps as Faith learned today. He leaped the 18" cross rail with a lot of enthusiasm then proceeded buck down the line. My job was to encourage Faith to sit up and ask Buckwheat to calm himself. All went well, thank goodness. The second time went even better and Faith has more confidence. Fiona is still working on confidence over the jumps so Lisa dropped one side of the of the cross rail to make the jump seem lower (it's not). Sasha, the Arab, walked over it the first time but eventually jumped it in fine form.
They all showed progress so I'm looking forward to seeing what we do next Saturday!