Aruba started working really, really well with the new saddle and it seems my riding has improved also too. The saddle was a good choice and I have zero buyers remorse. Things were going so well that I decided to throw out some ground poles and give it a shot, geting Aruba used to watching where her feet are, stretching out and down, using the poles to help teach her to lengthen or shorten her stride, depending on where/how we go thru them....
She soooo rocked it!!! I led her over the poles first, both directions, letting her stop and look at them. I wanted no surprises and certainly don't need to be taking a header off her when she's taller than I am. She looked at them, sniffed them and then could care less. I lunged her and let her walk and trot over them. Again both directions and she had no issue with them whatsoever. She was interested, but not freaked out or woried in the least so I got on.
We warmed up around the poles and finally started walking thru them, going between the poles. Again it was steady as she goes. This time we walked to the poles and I stopped her in front of them. She looked down, sniffed at them and let out a sigh. We stepped over the first one and stopped. No big deal. Stepped over the next one and stopped. Next one, stop, next one, stop and she acted like she was so impressed with her badass self. We started walking thru the poles, both direcions, between them, stopping, sometimes not stopping... She was awesome.
So we kicked it up a notch. We started trotting the poles. Meh, eyeroll, nothing spectacular there either. Aruba handled it like she's been doing it her whole life. She perked her ears up and went thru them interested and careful not to step on them, but no fuss, no muss. So what the hell... Let's push it a little further. I pulled a feed tub in and set up a small crossrail. As in--> small enough we walked over it with no problems.
So we went over the crossrail several times from both directions at a walk. I always made sure she was set up, before we got to the X, and if need be, I would ask her to stop, stand for a second or two before going over it. There was no reason to rush. After going over it several times from both directions at a walk, why not try it at a trot? Okay. This is when it got fun.
Aruba went over it at a trot a couple of times and never once tried to stop, refuse or duck out on me. Instead she perked her ears up as we made the corner coming into it. She looked up, almost lined herself up for it on her own and a few times she jumped it like it was something bigger than it was. Then after she jumped it, she scooted off in a canter for a few strides, doing the happy dance! She also threw in a few jiggy steps as if trying to crowhop on me. Yes she was certainly enjoying herself and showing off some too. All it took was a stern Hey! and she got herself under control again, but then we were around the pen and coming into the cossrail again... lol
The baby X was not big or intimidating in any way and it gave her the confidence to go over it and know she would be ok. We've done a few more 'courses' with a couple or a few baby X's set up and she really seems to enjoy herself. A few times she's gotten a little clumsy or maybe lazy and brought poles down, but she doesn't freak out over it because she knows it's not the end of the world. It's just annoying and when there's enough rails down, I will get off to reset things before we try again.
It's been a lot of fun getting her started with poles and baby X's. She's got a lot of jumpers in her pedigree so it's no wonder that it comes naturally for her. We do need to slow down and focus on the flat work before doing too much more, but this is a great start. Who knows how far we will go with it???