Two weeks ago my mom called me and offered to fly me home to Georgia for Fourth of July weekend. The prospect of not having to pay for a flight meant I was going no questions asked, but I also have a horse show coming up in two weeks: The Maryland Horse Trials II. This meant Justin was going to stay with Ashley (the jump trainer) for a long weekend of what I will call “Summer Camp.”
Ashley hasn’t ridden Justin yet, so not only would this keep his fitness up, but he would also get a tune up, and Ashley could get some more insight into how he ticks. Also Ashley is great because she let me contact her daily about the prince, and she also sent me lengthy responses on his progress.
First – I’d like to give a shout out to Justin for being nice to his temporary pasture mates. Unlike his general laid back personality, he’s kind of a jerk in the paddock. But not last weekend, he was pleasant. V proud of you Justin, learning to play well with others.
Here are the main takeaways from Ashley:
- Lateral work is our friend – our best friend. Justin can be quite stiff when we start, and lateral work helps supple him. We knew this, but she was able to really feel it herself.
- Going to the left, we need more bend through his mid-section. This is something we’ve been working with Allison on the flat, but it’s always nice when your flat and your jump trainers are on the same page 🙂
- Control the haunches – Justin is part noodle and can be quite wiggly. By the time I realize the we’re not straight the haunches have usually already swung way out of my control. Ashley wants to see me really be proactive on keeping the haunches behind his front end, so that he’s working properly.
- Over fences I need to make him sit again quickly after landing. She said she was finally able to feel him not run so much as brace on the front end after fences – something she admits is hard to see on the ground because he’s so willing and generally perfect over fences. On my end, I think upper body control will be crucial so I can react quicker on landing.
Justin also had a fantastic time playing in the red clay at Ashley’s farm. In other words I only have an orange pony now.