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Session 37: Leapin’ Lizards, Wizard!

January 10, 2009

xrail1

Saturday 1/10/09

Wizard and the rest of his barn buddies stayed indoors due the the weather situation here in New Jersey (sleet and slippery snow). I decided that today was a perfect day to try something physically and mentally challenging so we did a free jumping session. It was a great idea- what fun… and I learned that Wizard can jump pretty nicely!

I set up a regular fence with standards along the wall of the indoor arena. Then I made a chute of two jumps end to end perpendicular to the jump in order to encourage Wizard to jump straight. We started with a pole on the ground between standards, then raised it to a crossrail and finally a vertical about a foot high. My friend photographed while I concentrated on working with Wizard.

Wizard first learned free jumping during Ride 27 . He retained quite a bit of the lesson since he immediately went over the poles by himself as soon as he was turned out in the arena! Click and treat for Wizard.

I asked him to warm up at the trot at liberty. I then asked him to take the ground pole at a trot, which turned into a canter, which turned into him showing off and prancing and snorting after the jump ;^)

He jumped the ground pole about three times and then I raised it to a crossrail. He cleared the crossrail twice very easily so I raised it to a one-foot vertical. He jumped the vertical really well! He jumped about 7 obstacles total (ground pole, crossrail, then vertical).

vertical1

Next time I free jump him, I will set up some sort of combination of obstacles as a tiny gymnastic so Wizard can round up more and not rush as much. At the end of the session, he get getting too quick and pulled the rail with his hind end. I think he simply got too excited and flattened out.

Throughout the session, I used the clicker to enforce good behaviors such as forward motion, a soft trot, and his jumps. The clicker worked really well until the end, when he did not pay as much attention to it. He was too busy celebrating after the jumps by arching his neck and leaping around in the far corner of the arena. It was really cute to see him play after the fences.

I was quite pleased with Wizard’s jumping efforts. I assumed that because of the angle of his humerus, he would not be the tidiest jumper in the world. While he did hang below his knees, his forearms looked quite nice, especially for a greenie who knows nothing about jumps!

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