The weather in Texas decided to play nice this weekend, and I was able to do back-to-back jump lessons Saturday and Sunday. Lessons after a horse show always end up feeling to same to me. I’m typically on a high from the show, and it feels weird to come home and struggle with what feel like basic exercises such as trot jumps, and much smaller fence heights then we just competed at.
I’ve thought about it a bit and I feel like in a way, this is just proof that we are “doing the work” at home, so that shows end up being successful. At the show, Rio is more easily able to fit in the strides in a line(usually!) and responds well when I ask him for something (such as shutting his canter stride down and rocking back on his butt). So why doesn’t it feel just as east when I come home and school over smaller jumps? I have come to realize that at home, we do everything to a much more technical degree, which in turn is why it feels easier, or at least doable, at shows even when I am a bundle of nerves. It is not the fence height that is a problem for Rio!
For example, our lines at home are sometimes set a bit on the short side. Not all of them, but occasionally one is snuck in. When I try to point out that a particular line is harder for us because it’s obviously set short, I get shut down by the trainers- I don’t think they want us wising up their genius plan. Instead, I have to find a way to just get it done. It forces me to have a better quality canter going into the line, and be quicker to rate Rio in the middle so that we can fit in all the strides as gracefully as possible. Genius really, even if it’s evil genius.
I get home from shows and try to ride around all soft (which really just mean ineffective) and then I’m surprised every time when we can’t get around perfectly. Although Rio has come leaps and bounds from where we started, we still have plenty to work on, and trot jumps and 2’3 jumps can still be very challenging for us! Rio was amazing this weekend though. When I tried to get all worked over up a few bad distances Trainer Julie had to remind me that Rio couldn’t care less, and that I need to let the bad jumps go and not let it ruin the whole ride. Words of wisdom right there!
So we put in the work this weekend and have some really solid rides. Rio has been making it pretty clear what he needs from me to do his job. He needs me to predominately leave him alone in the bridle, and be very accurate with my body. When I am straight and use my hip angle correctly he gives me tons of flexibility within the gaits, without ever going to the hand. If I get him straight to the jumps (through his rib cage and whole body) he is learning to really use himself correctly. And if I do need to go to the hand, I need to correct him then leave him alone again. My brain is actually starting to get with the program, and it feel like a bit of a break through in our ride. Super exciting stuff!
Hope everyone has a great Monday, and an awesome week! I love hearing what everyone is looking forward to, who has big plans this week? Or who had a big weekend? Any riding break throughs for anyone?