A couple of us from the yard hired a local arena on Saturday for a jumping session. As you know, the last time we went to that venue it was a bit of a disaster due to the saddle so it was a true, final test of our control.
We warmed up well, focusing on getting Buddy reacting to my aids and concentrating. Lots of on and back within the pace and upwards and downwards transitions. Every time I asked for a change in pace I expected an immediate response and he was really good and was concentrating on me. After popping over a small cross pole a few times it was clear I had my controlled pony back and we moved on to riding the course. I felt that the saddle put me in a much better position and I was able to be more effective over the fences and, when we weren't quite forward enough and had an awkward jump, I was able to recover my position much quicker.
I was really pleased with Buddy, he was rideable and I thoroughly enjoyed the session as he felt so good over the fences. We have things to work on - you'll hear at the beginning of the video that I'm singing nellie the elephant (!) this is an attempt to get me to breathe between my fences as I have a horrible habit of holding my breath when I'm show jumping. Oddly enough I don't do it XC but I have always done it when show jumping so I have to really concentrate on breathing!! I also need to make sure that I am riding forward enough as Buddy can fool me and he is such a large striding horse so you feel like you are travelling forward but in reality you need just a fraction more. I'm definitely getting better at it but still lose it every now and then.
The overall verdict it is now time to crack on and get out there so we're on the hunt for a nice local venue for our debut!