Hello! Sorry for my absence lately, I was on a family ski trip in CO the last 4 days. (Which was AMAZING!). Before I left though I took a jumping lesson with Trainer Julie on Thursday, and I wanted to write about it before I forget everything. (FYI these pics are from a lesson earlier this month, but since we routinely have the same issues I am using them to visualize some of my points from this lesson, photos by Liana!).
I don’t know about my fellow bloggers, but I always feel that blogging about what happens at the barn helps it sink in and marinate. When I take the time to actually analyze how my ride went, and organize those thoughts enough to put them down on this blog, I always feel like the lessons “stick” better. Blogging further engrains my trainer’s words into my brain, and I am able to more easily recall them when I’m in the saddle next. In this way, I feel that I get more out of my lessons, especially the mistakes I have made.
Our lesson started out with some pole and caveletti work as t usually does. As much as I despise poles and cavelettis (which is a lot) I do recognize that they are a good way o get a pulse for how response your horse is on the particular day. It we are sloppy through them, chances are we will be sloppy over fences. Best to get things in order over the small stuff and remind myself of all the little things we need to be doing in order to bring together a successful jump course.
Rio started out a bit rushy and crooked over the poles and cavelettis, but with a few adjustments he came together nicely and started to use himself really well. Turning to the left I had to think about less inside rein and almost counter-bend him through the turn once I recognized that although he felt like his was bending to the left he was really just sliding out my outside rein and never getting straight to the cavelettis.
Going to the right Rio was fine but I was twisting my upper body and dropping my inside hand. Once corrected, our distances started to show up easily and our right turns became much more balanced.
I am still focusing on rounding my back (to fight my urge to over-arch it) and slow down my body over the fences. Although my back was better overall I think, I was still a bit quick with my body over some of Rio’s efforts.
Our biggest “issue” once we started jumping bigger fences was my somewhat lackadaisical attitude on course. I found myself waffling over decisions, or just “hoping” things would turn out. For example, I would jump a single over fine, realize I was on the wrong lead, waffle a bit whether to do a flying or a simple change, and then just sort of float into the change and hope he did it. Spoiler alert- this did not work. Trainer Julie reminded me that Rio is not a mind reader and I need to be clearer with my aids if I want the change. Next time around, I prepared him and asked with determination and easily got it. You think I’d learn by now that I actually have to RIDE.
Overall the lesson went great, and when I made the decisions Rio listened and everything came together. It was a good reminder to constantly be engaged mentally and to be awayre of where I am on course and what my horse is giving me!
We had the BEST hack last night, and I am really looking forward to our lesson this Sunday. Rio felt incredibly responsive and tuned into my aids. He felt like he would have jumped the moon during our ride. Fingers crossed the rest of the week goes as smoothly!