It was my first time free jumping my mares and Hub and I weren't sure how it would work. Hub was worried about Pom Pom freaking out and running through the hot wire to get to her friends (she's horribly buddy sour). So, when we were setting up the chute with the round pen panels, all the mares wondered in and we let them jump together. I defered to Hub's experience with young horses and horse psychology to know if it all was safe or if we were going to end up in a wreck! I was worried about using the round pen panels ( I could see feet getting caught in places they shouldn't) and worried about ALL 3 horses jumping at once (steeplechase wrecks also flashed in my mind!). It all was fine. Thank you, Hub.
The mares seemed to REALLY enjoy themselves! They went through fairly willingly with Flo leading the way! She actually went through more times than we thought she would. Pom Pom just followed her buddies and tried to figure out where to put her feet. What really made the process work was that we would let them rest in the corner nearest the end of the chute after after they went through. If they didn't rest in the corner, we sent them through again. They learned pretty fast to go to the same corner to catch their breath before going again :) We sent them through until they learned the system and were relaxed. The last go was Pom Pom by herself. She didn't pick her feet up super high, but I think it was because she wasn't really bothered by the jumps or their height. She was more concerned about getting back to her buddies!
Next time, I"m going to set up some trotting poles to a cross rail and then another pole before a vertical. Maybe I'll introduce a bounce to her after that. I just really want to get Pom Pom thinking about her footwork. Mia could use the footwork too. I think it will help her to keep going through the chute until she slows down and relaxes.