Enter Mogie Bearden Muller with even more words of wisdom.
Mogie came down to our barn for lessons just before the holidays and we had a great talk about exactly HOW to start jumping.
The healed tendon fibers are shorter than the rest of the tendon fibers and we want to continue the theme of his rehab - gradually increase the load on the tendon in controlled increments. So our homework is to start with ten, count 'em, ten small jumps, no more than 18" - 2', three times a week for two weeks. The third week we increase the height of the jumps to 2'3", still only jumping ten in a session, three times a week.
This is actually a welcome addition to our training program because Phinn is getting a little tired of our dressage-only themed rides and has invented a new game I like to call "which came first, the spooking or hanging on the right rein". Phinn is a fan of including both concepts in our work right now and adding in jumping over small fences lets me work on both issues with an added sense of purpose and variety. Reintroducing jumping was an immediate hit with Phinn, who I have to admit, is quite pleased with the addition of painted poles to his life.
In our lesson Mogie helped me with the right rein issue with counter bending and encouraging the use of a more opening inside rein when he's spooking and hanging on the right rein (the two usually show up together). She smiled politely and graciously ignored Phinn's reenactments of Don Quixote vs. the windmills at various and multiple items around the arena, which include jump standards, the mounting block, the gate, anything he finds in slight resemblance to a lurking giant or dragon, as the case may be. My homework is to use brief interludes of opening rein to counter act tightness at the base of the neck and increase mobility of the shoulder. My inside hand was coming much too far back and only encouraging Phinn to use his short little neck to brace against my repeated pleas for softness, something akin to the old adage which goes something like, "don't fight with a pig....you both get covered in ____ and the pig likes it".