It was time for Baby Dax to learn where to put his feet!
I made the grid simple enough: 1 stride - bounce - 1 stride
I wanted to work my position and release at the same time.
The ride started with me on Fancy Pony and A on Dax. A and Dax have been working together and are developing a great rapport!
Whisper and Dax both worked through the groundpoles comfortably, so I played ground crew and started with the last element - changing it to a cross-rail.
Dax went through just fine, with only a tiny peek at the x. His second and third time through, he nailed it. Solid citizen.
One by one, we worked back until the grid was all cross-rails.
Both ponies took it in stride, and everyone was building great confidence!
A was particularly interested in building confidence over fences, so I suggested we trade horses. She could get confident and comfortable on the reliable Fancy Pony!!
We left everything as cross-rails while we requianted ourselves with our new mounts.
Let the fun begin!!
We practiced finding the right canter, and A was feeling great about her gridwork! Baby Dax had figured it out and would take himself into the grid unless I actively steered him somewhere else. I think he likes the challenge...
We made the last element a small 2' vertical. I knew Dax was perfectly capable of this since he had schooled starter cross country...
So inspire A, Dax and I went through first. I mean, if Baby Dax will do it, she knows Whisper won't hesitate!
Well, Baby Dax did it! He again peeked at the new element, but he hopped on over it!
We repeated this until everyone was feeling quite comfortable. We practiced position, release, planning our exit before we entered... Then, we made one more vertical out of the bounce.
I rode Dax through, and he kept running out at the last fence. Why was he suddenly so off?
I continued to ponder, then I realized...
He changed his canter!
He was coming in with a longer canter now, and he was landing deep in the bounce which left him buried in the 1 stride! He *could not* make the last jump!
I think while it was all X's, he had enough adjustability to compress his last stride, but changing the single element to a vertical was just too much!
So, I adjusted the striding and lengthened out the bounce and the 1-stride... Paced it all off again...
We entered yet again, and guess who nailed the grid!!
Baby Dax was fantastic and willing!
Obviously, he wasn't trying to be naughty. And the Fancy Pony happily adjusted to either pacing.
We ran through this until everyone felt comfortable. I practiced riding straight and halting on Dax. A practiced the same on Whisper. She was feeling great on the Fancy Pony, so, I raised the last vertical one more time for them, and let her feel Whisper actually put in a little effort. I'd say she was delighted!!