Double Time

Today I got to ride two lessons in a row, since Instructor will be away next week. My first lesson was on Misty, and it was a jump lesson since it was beautiful weather.

Working Between Two Poles

We started very simply by trotting over two poles, placed quite far apart. I was supposed to imagine they were jumps, and come at them with the quality of trot I would want to jump with. I didn’t do very well the first time, but I upped the attitude and got Misty going the next time around. Then we cantered in and trotted out over the second pole. I had to work on doing a big half halt if she didn’t come back to trot right away. Finally, we cantered the whole way (in two-point) and I counted my strides. The first time we got an awkward six and a half strides because I let the canter die out in the middle. Next time I kept my leg on and we got a nice steady six.

Jump to Pole

Once Misty was feeling nice and adjustable, Instructor set up the first obstacle as a jump and we went a couple times in each direction. I had to trot in and canter out, then canter in and trot out, then canter the whole way. It really got me thinking about getting Misty back immediately after the jump. I focused hard on keeping myself out of the saddle the whole way over the jump, like I’d been working on last week. Instructor said I was much better at that this week. Yay! I did tip forward a couple of times though, so I have to keep telling myself to wait for the jump and stay tall.

Combination

To finish, Instructor raised the second obstacle to a jump as well. I had to come in at the canter, then half halt and trot over the second jump. It was a pretty big challenge, since Misty loves to get quick when she sees a jump. The first time I didn’t work hard enough and we had to canter the second jump. The next time I focused and got the trot. Then Instructor told me to circle and come right away in the canter for the whole combination. She had raised the second obstacle to a taller oxer. At the first jump, another student’s horse spooked and bolted, so I pulled out and stopped. I should have known better, because as soon as I came again, Misty ran out to the left. The same direction I had just pulled out in. I should have been ready with my inside leg, but my brain was just going “sit up, soft elbows, wait for the jump!”. Silly me. Anyway, we came again right away and got it. On one attempt I had a terrible jump in (read: we got to the jump deep and I tipped WAY forward, completely getting in Misty’s way), but we salvaged it and jumped the oxer very well.

I definitely had a lot of stupid moments, but I feel like I improved a lot from last week. I have to simultaneously work on saying the right things to myself before a jump, while also shutting my brain the hell up and just going with it. I’m so excited to see where we are by the end of summer!

Once my lesson on Misty was done, I had to hoof it up to the barn and tack up Mr Bean for the lesson right after. Unfortunately we passed his friend on the walk back to the ring, so he screamed a bit, but was overall pretty well behaved. My lesson on Mr Bean was basically all the same exercises again, so I won’t list them all. The idea was to practice getting the same feeling and the same results on a completely different horse. Bean is small and athletic. He goes forward easily, but is hard to steer. He likes to bulge, cut in, and counter bend. He’s pretty much the exact opposite of Misty. It was a great learning experience for me to ride the same exercises back to back, since it highlighted which parts were my fault. I definitely have a tendency to tip forward, particularly on the second jump when I’m cantering in and trotting out. I anticipate the jump, and instead of going to a tall two-point, I just bend forward. Bean was awesome though, and we had a couple spectacular attempts. It took me a while to find my balance, but by the end I was able to get out of his way. I’ll try to get a picture of him to post next week!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 Exercises, Lessons

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