A Week with Kathy and Ricky – Seek The Jump
My week-long challenge this week was to see if I could teach Ricky to “seek the jump” at liberty. My goal was to set things up so that at the end of the week I could send Ricky out (in the 75’ round pen), have him seek the jump, jump it and then come back.
The reason I chose this task was that as I develop Ricky’s Foundation, I also want to add in the pieces that will help him understand and enjoy the “job” of jumping. “Seek the jump” can be a great way to help horses understand the game of jumping as well as helping them develop into partners who put effort into seeking out the jump. In addition, I chose a small obstacle (the barrels are not even 2’) so that we could try multiple times without strain.
New skills introduced: Friendly game with the barrels. Squeeze game over the barrels with the 12’ line and halter.
Ricky was a little skeptical of the barrels in the new space, at first. Once he gained some confidence, we proceeded to playing squeeze game each direction – 3x. After each jump effort I sat on the barrel and took a break for about 3 minutes.
New skills introduced: Stick to me barrel jump to the left.
After reviewing the online warmup from yesterday we ventured into liberty. Ricky has lovely stick to me and is more confident when I am close to him. I used this with stick to me to introduce the barrel jump at liberty. We only did one direction, 3x with a long break after each jump.
New skills introduced: Jump opportunity off the circle.
We reviewed the day before and started to introduce the concept that it is Ricky’s job to seek the jump. This was a challenging day and I ended by allowing Ricky to find comfort as he approached the “bubble” of the jump (at this stage – about 45’ away). Only to the left.
New skills introduced: Stick to me over the jump to the right.
Ricky found comfort at the jump bubble almost right away and made it all the way to finding comfort sniffing the barrels today.
I also played with stick to me over the jump going to the right in the warm up and he was 100%
New skills introduced: Review
Today was the tipping point!! After the Stick To Me review, Ricky made the choice to jump at liberty, off the circle! He took a few laps without jumping and I just put on a little pressure with my energy when he was heading away from the jump, as soon as he headed to the jump – all pressure off. When he chose to jump, I went and sat on the barrel for 7 minutes!!
New skills introduced: Jump off the circle going right.
This presented a whole new puzzle for Ricky, but he was able to solve it much faster and by the end of the session he was seeking the jump off the right or left circle on the first try.
New skills introduced: Videoing 😊
First try to the right and Ricky nailed it!! He left at a canter, ears forward, straight over the jump and came back with ears forward – he gets the game!!! Unfortunately, Pivo lost him, so the video is of his third attempt. AND he is able to do both directions.