…or should it be pack…?

Her name is Betty and she is a 5yo Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  She’s a retired show & breeding dog who came from a lovely lady I met through the breed club. She’s had two litters and will be the star of her very own blog very soon.

She’s proved a bit of a distraction and is part of the reason why there’s been no update for a couple of months.

It’s been that and the fact that I’ve been rather busy and unmotivated.  First of all work took me to France for a week, then I caught a nasty cold and then, well I was just feeling sorry for myself.

But I’m pleased to say that with the longer days I’ve found my motivation and Abbey & I are back in full swing with regular jumping lessons, interval training and a focus on ‘uphill’ in our flatwork.

Abbey hadn’t jumped since autumn last year, mainly because she changed shape over the winter and her GP didn’t fit.  We (my RI & I) expected a little exuberance the first time we got the jumps out but that didn’t happen until lesson #3.

As we hadn’t jumped for so long we kept it simple in the first lesson with two jumps on a related distance.  The aim was to add and take away a stride in between the two fences. We’d been working on collecting the canter and then sending Abbey forward again so this exercise put some of that flatwork into practice.  Although Abbey got pretty tired pretty quickly I am delighted to say that she didn’t get fizzy and we successfully added two strides and took out one.

Second lesson was basic grid work, reminding Abbey that speed is not her friend.

The third lesson had us collecting and asking for power.  While it was just jumping a single fence on a circle, my RI wanted to see me coming in with power and momentum (NOT SPEED) and then riding away with the same energy (NOT SPEED!).  Once we’d got the hang of that she introduced a second fence on the straight.  I had to keep the momentum, not allowing Abbey to get flat or rush just because we were on a straight.

It was all going well until my RI turned the fence on the circle into a high cross and used a stripey barrier for a ground line.  Don’t get me wrong we’ve jumped both of these 100s of times before and we’d jumped them this spring.  But on this occasion Abbey got very excited, running at the fence as if her life depended on it!

So…we had to go back to basics, approaching the fence in trot until Abbey relaxed, then in a bouncy canter (with no rushing!) .  Eventually she settled and we jumped the fence on the circle and then the one on the straight without a drama.

The 4th jumping lesson we’ve had this year saw us working on a grid doing bounces.  We managed to do 4 fences in a row and then my RI introduced a spread and then one of those high cross poles to get Abbey to properly bascuile . (Note that we’re having a lesson in daylight!!!! 😀 )