Can you handle anymore pictures? Oh well, here they come, ready or not, because Saleem and I tried ”jumping” for the first time!
Now, Saleem is a very sensitive horse, with a very easily bruised mind, he always wants to do his best, and every time he is presented with something new, his first reaction is always, “I can’t, please don’t make me.”
A horse like that, you have to be careful with. You have to make sure to present him with new problems in a way that makes it easy for him to solve, and to always make sure to compliment him whenever he comes out of his shell and tries, even if he is doing it dead wrong. For Saleem to try, when he is not sure how to solve the problem, is huge, and you must never ask for more. As long as he tries, you can work with that. If you expect too much, he will stop trying. It’s all about motivation and trust.
So, we started with this very difficult task, trotting across a bar on the ground. Saleem closed his eyes and solved the problem the best way he knew how, by jumping it. He is so careful.
He quickly learned that jumping isn’t necessary though, when the bar is on the ground. That is one of the great things about him. He is a quick learner. All I got to do is build up his confidence and make sure not to ask for more than he can handle.
So we tried with a “real” obstacle. That was scary.
All the way up to it he was thinking “no, no, no, I can’t handle that!” I could almost hear him screaming at me. Still, he closed his eyes and set off, always trying his best.
I am holding on to his mane, making sure I won’t accidentally pull on the rein if he did something to make me lose my balance. That kind of caught him by surprise. I haven’t done that before, but it is an instinct with me, whenever I am jumping a “raw” horse, my right hand is supporting me on the mane. I learned that with Poseidon, and it has stuck with me ever since. Still, Saleem handled it well and the next time we tried the obstacle he did much better, believing ever so slightly that he could actually survive jumping it.
He is jumping on four stiff legs, I know, and not showing off a lot of technique, but he tries. That is all that matters. Anything else, I can build up in time. Give me five years…
The third time wasn’t much better, but he was starting to relax a little.
And he was with me right after the obstacle, his balance intact. That is actually very good.
Fourth time he did much better, relaxing his neckline a little, and feeling much more comfortable with the challenge.
So I let him off. Never press the matter, especially not with a horse like Saleem. He needs time. I swear, he will be working this over in his head the next days, figuring out what happened and that he survived. When you work with young horses, the days off, the time spent not training, is just as valuable. I often find that they improve a lot, when left to their own devices, at least the intelligent ones, and Saleem sure is, even if he is not the bravest.
Apocalipse, Saleem’s son, my unridden, almost three year old, got to look at the bars as well.
He is my future star, no doubt about it. He finds it easy, too easy, almost boring. It takes a lot to motivate him, to find the bars interesting. He sure is going to be a challenge. I see his mother in him, every time I work with him. He only does what I ask, when he feels that it is something he bother to do. When he don’t, he either throw a hissing fit, or simply ignore me. His mother was the kind that focused and worked the best, the higher the obstacles were. The more difficult the challenge, the easier she was to work with. She hated bars on the ground with a vengeance, it was almost impossible to make her trot across them. She would run around them, fall over them, anything imaginable, until you set up a real obstacle, then she might be convinced to work with you.
Apocalipse is a bit easier, still, but I do see her in him a lot.
Marble on the other hand, my two year old mare, has work ethics. She loves working with me and she has got courage. She faces everything head on, no backing off, no wondering if she can do it, no spooking. When I ask her to walk across a bar, she does, because she simply wants to do good.
I love her spirit and her temper, I love how wild and untamed she feels, how fast forward at all times, and still so much easier to get a correct response from, than my three year old superstar.
I actually thinks that in time, Marble and I may have a future in cross county, something I have always wanted to do, but never dared, because I never had “the right horse.” I think she might be brave enough, and manageable enough at the same time.
Apocalipse sure is brave enough, but I doubt how manageable he is going to be, and Saleem sure is manageable, but he isn’t brave enough. Marble might turn out to be just the perfect mixture for it. She sure looks promising.
Tardis found the obstacles horrifying, but she is excused, she is four years old and has a young foal to take care off. She got to look at them, any way she wanted, I didn’t ask her to go near them.
She did, so her curiosity is stronger than her fear. I like that.
Ablaze thought it was rather funny and very scary at the same time. But look, he can jump already!
So yeah, here we are, almost jumping!