Lesson Update - October 2018

So I was all excited to show off my mad skills, jumping full 3’ courses, kickin’ ass and taking names for this lesson update. But then I got sick and went on vacation, lost absolutely all of my bravery and conditioning and so here’s just another normal video update! (not to say it’s all about height AT ALL, it’s just another measure of our exciting progress)

We struggled especially hard with left to right transitions that day, a bit of a regression because I thought we were past that part of our lives. If I’m making excuses for him it’s because we had a very taxing flat lesson the night before and he might’ve been just a little sore. Plus, we had an actual flat warm-up before we started jumping in this lesson, which is not usually the case.

We started out jumping a little vertical left to right, not my favorite exercise, but usually not that much of a problem. Usually, the trick to Leo’s lead changes are asking with the inside leg, and since his lead preference is the left, that is my also weak side since I never have to ask hard for that lead. So when I go to ask for the right lead change my trainer had try something different than the usual ask-with-the-new-inside-leg, it ended up being more difficult than it should’ve been. Something to work on for sure!

Course 1

Same direction over the vertical we had just practiced over, so I had to tell him we weren’t circling again. Simple change, my God, but had a great jump 2, still didn’t get the left to right change in time for the bending line. For some amateur reason I circle… after fence 3 my trainer tells me to just walk which is always a great sign. She explained to me that my distances and jumps weren’t terrible and there’s no reason for him to not be getting the change. Further explained, his hind end was drifting way left making it hard for him to get the change in the back - make him curl around my right leg by moving my left back to get the change. She also had me switch my crop to my left hand so if I use it behind my leg he feels it on his left hind to start the canter stride.

Honestly, I was surprised but it worked! For Take II, I had a little more horse under me but we got around the course getting all our lead changes in a somewhat reasonable amount of time, still circled, but no one’s perfect. Except us over that last jump, right??

Course 2

Started with the fence 2 to 3 then to fence 1 of the first course, and then back around to the series of bendy yellow fences, the opposite way. He was so good and forgave me for pulling to the red fence when I wasn’t paying attention At All, but the last three fences were perfection. And he’s really just such a good boy, always forgives, always looks to the next fence and is just so willing and once he realized I was switching it up and applying pressure on his left side he was so good about the lead changes. If you can see, watch his ears swivel around listening for further instruction after every jump, probably hoping for a “good booyyyyyy” which means his course is over, but then you point him to a fence and his ears perk and lock on… he’s just too cute!

Positive Notes:

  • I’ve gotten better at following with my hand/staying over. (at least if I find a good distance)

  • My half seat looks and feels pretty solid.

  • A good 8/10 distances were spot on!

  • I used to have an issue with curling into a ball on the approach to a jump and I’ve finally got into the habit of supporting to the base. #posturematters

  • I didn’t get mad or frustrated about the lead change issue - I know it’s just a temporary problem, we all have off days, even horses!

  • Looking at the progress I’ve made from last October is also somewhat gratifying. In the video below it looks like Leo is struggling to put up with my riding, and I’m struggling to do anything at all.