Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jumping lesson 1-21-2012

I should preface the jumping lesson details with the note that it's been a fantastic week of riding. Tuesday Kiddo #1 and I went for a nice, long ride (me on Saga and her on Reddums) before she went back to college for the semester. She had a great time and we both got some T/C work in out in one of the fields nearby. Wednesday Fuzzypony and I headed out for a short bareback trail ride around dusk. At one point we were going down a very twisty, windy trail with cedar trees all around (it's sort of like a tunnel) and I commented how I felt like we were in a chase scene in a bad horror movie. Fortunately, nothing horror-movie worthy happened to us!

Then on Thursday the hubby, Fuzzypony, and I headed over to the retaining pond we like to ride in. The hubby had a really rough time with Saga, because he was wearing his jousting helm with chain mail. Saga doesn't like the sound of armor, especially when it's on his back. He jigged a lot, which of course made hubby tense and grab the reins, and soon we had this self-fulfilling cycle of constant pulling back which resulted in head-flinging. I have learned not to comment much on the hubby's riding (that's why we take lesson from a 3rd party) but I ended up suggesting that they just work on walk on a loose rein, and if Saga trotted, make an immediate correction but then go back to a loose rein. They ended on a good note, but it took a lot of work. The plan now is to figure out a way for me to wear clinky armor when I ride so we can get him more accustom to the sound. Never mind that hubby's armor is a) too big and b) really frickin' heavy... we'll figure something out. It may involve tin cans full of rocks to make noise, but we've gotta do something. If anyone has any ideas, LMK.

Friday night Fuzzypony and I took another short ride over to the retaining pond. Saga and I worked on a lot of T/C, with me focusing on using my core to rate him, remembering to turn my shoulders when trying to turn him, especially to the right where he tries to pop his shoulder and fall out. We had some really nice moments, until our canter departs, which just did. not. happen. Apparently, one can use one's core and forget one's legs to the point that your horse feels nice and adjusts well, but isn't actually with you. I'm still trying to figure how that works (or doesn't), but clearly I need to get him in front of my leg somehow. Dressage lessons are no doubt in order.

Finally, on to the jumping lesson on Saturday. I was on Reddums again and managed to keep him much more forward and balanced than last time. We got into our fences better (mostly), but I am still popping up way too early after the fences - or rather, on top of the fences. The deep AP saddle that I'm riding in isn't doing me any favors, but it's still a problem I need to work on. I'll bring it up with Paige next week and see if she has any great ideas on how I can fix that.

We did a fun line with a Christmas tree under the first jump. It's bigger than Red's been jumping, and of course it looked funny, so I was expecting a little goofiness the first time though. I aimed him at the lowest part of the jump on the right, which was a mistake. If your horse usually jumps right, fer heaven's sakes take the left side! I thought I was going to eat a standard, as you can see in our brilliant leap, where I caught more air than he did. Oh well, eventers are nothing if not persistent, so when Paige said to "go ahead over the second fence if you think you can make it" of course I went for it. I mean, I was still on, still had reins and stirrups, so why not? The second fence actually wasn't bad, given how... erm... creative the first jump was. She told me after that she was surprised that I had gone for it and made it, and I was like, well, of course, I'm going to get the job done regardless of how it looks. That's part of what eventing's about, right?

Fortunately the second time through was rather more together (which is to say, I rode better and Red made me look good), so we quit on that.

The hubby also had a really good ride on Saga, which ended with jumping the same line with the Christmas tree.

He worked on a lot this lesson - heels down, hands forward & grab mane, chest up - much of which is very difficult for him because he's just not flexible in the way that I think a lot of riders are. He physically cannot get his heel down more than an inch without absolutely jamming his foot into the stirrup, which of course tightens his entire leg. He can't sit Indian style at all - his hips just don't rotate in the socket that way, which makes it hard for him not to pinch with his thighs and knees. He gets frustrated because his body physically cannot do what the instructor often tells him to do, but Paige is sort of working miracles by providing alternatives and seeing what is possible, then working with that.

One really funny thing that happened - Hubby asked Paige what to do if you were jumping and there was a tree branch over the jump (he was talking about a scenario we had once when foxhunting). She looked at him quizzically and said, "Clearly there's something wrong with the arena you're riding in!" We both laughed and explained what we'd meant, and marveled once again at the difference between our riding world and her riding world. I swear, one day we're going to get her out and take her foxhunting!


  1. Once again, you look fantastic jumping Reddums! And you handled your 'near miss' very admirably.
    Love the Christmas tree jump....I wonder if I could build something like that in my arena.

    1. HAHAHAHA! Thanks for the compliment LL... although I'm pretty sure you didn't watch too closely. :)

  2. I think you both looked great!! And Reddums too!! One of these days I want to take a couple jumping lessons, just not on Lilly. She's too broken. :(

    You have an award at my blog! :)