We trotted our first cross rail today! Now, Boomer has jumped a little- I had a few cavaletti in Oklahoma and the trainer jumped him over some brush this fall. But, this was our first exercise in jumping.
Work with me here on the description of what we did. Imagine the arena is divided in to 4 long sections. Section one had two trot poles about 15 feet apart, section two had two trot poles also 15 feet apart but staggered from the first set, section three had a small cross rail with a lead up ground pole and section four had three trot poles with standards by pole 2 for 'show'. We started by going through the ground poles a few times and going over one in 'section one' then leg yielding over to 'section two' for the next pole. This was actually really fun because I tried to stay in 2 point position the whole time with loose/light contact. Boomer was more responsive to my leg than I expected! Yay! I had shortened my stirrups two holes and found it much easier to post, however I really practiced staying in two point or half seat.
Boomer did great on everything and took it all in stride. He didn't over react to the standards or to the cross rail. We only worked for about 30 minutes called it quits after he trotted the cross rail twice in a row without touching it.
Another interesting point about today's ride is that I used a new bit. I finally got my full cheek french link snaffle in the mail and I was impressed with the difference already. I also got a pair of bit keepers, I haven't used those before with my old full cheek, not sure if it makes any difference, but whatever. I really stayed out of his mouth and gave him super light contact the whole ride. He never braced and was more responsive to turns than ever before. He was working the bit more and had a great foamy slime going on after the ride. He was also less resistant for our stretches and backing at the end of the ride. Backing was probably the single biggest improvement. So, good choice, I think!