Competing in jumpers and other sport disciplines with Morgan horses
Monday, August 1, 2011
Shorty Is All Tired Out
The Sparkplug is all tuckered out. Three days of "boot camp" did him in - but one of the great things about a Morgan is that if I asked him to keeep going, he would. Day Three of the clinic was a bit less exciting than Day Two. The day started off with a bit of a "confrontation;" as we were warming up, Greg had me jump Sparky over a Liverpool that had been folded in half length-wise, just to get a measure of where Sparky's brain was. Sparky did not hesitate in the least and went right over like he'd been jumping Liverpools his entire life. The Liverpool was then unfolded, and Greg had us jump it again. Again, Sparky didn't even blink. This confirmed what Greg was thinking: Sparky is essentially a very brave horse... he's just a jerk. Jumping a coop was also on the agenda for the day, so Greg had me present Sparky to the coop to see what he would do. He seemed a little unsure at first, but then decided that maybe it wasn't so bad, and actually moved up to a trot as we were walking towards it. "That's not a bad reaction," Greg said.
Day Three was, in some ways, a repeat of the previous days. We were still working on correcting Sparky's right shift over the jumps. Our course to jump for the day was the coop, followed by the roll-top, a four-stride line, and the diagonal line from the direction opposite of what we had been jumping it the previous days. Overall, Sparky did well. In the course of the day, he stopped four times, but only once (again, at the roll-top) was it an, "I'm a jerk" stop. After beating his butt, he went over the roll-top no problem... and actually also bucked less and threw less of a hissy-fit than he had the previous day. He other stops were all "honest" stops - he really was surprised by the jumps. In the case of the coop, it was likely still some hesitation about the type of jump, but for the pink oxer, it seemed to mostly be a matter of it not even occurring to Sparky that he was supposed to jump it from that direction. Once he went over each of them, he didn't have an issue again.
I almost wonder if I haven't caused Sparky's issue of shifting right over fences. When he ducks out, it is almost always to the left, so I probably tend to use more "stay to the right" aids... which may have ended up causing that shift to the right. It's quite possible, and so is therefore something about which I must be cognizant.
Taking Sparky to the clinic was DEFINITELY a Good Idea. It was a great experience, and I now have some very specific things to correct and better ideas on how to correct them.