Sunday, August 24, 2014

jump lesson @ OF

Yesterday's forecast was ominous, but we got through our lesson outside without getting too drenched - woo hoo! Otherwise you'd be reading about Isabel's first time in the indoor... That post will certainly come some day, but not today. 

'i don't really 'do' the great indoors' -isabel

We warmed up ok-ish. Our flat work was better last week, and I'm not sure if it's because Izzy is learning to resist more or if I'm just bumbling around in my attempts to get steady contact. In any case, P suggested that we trot with our hands backwards on the reins for a little while. 

I'll try to get photographic representation, but for now just imagine: instead of the rein traveling from bit to the gap between pinky and ring finger, it travels from bit to gap between thumb and index finger. Your hand is oriented about the same, except now you've got more of a slope along the top of your hand - with the index really pointing towards the mouth. 

The idea is to get a different and softer feel of the horse's mouth while removing the ability to lock you wrists / elbows / shoulders etc. It was a neat trick, and helped me soften up a bit (which then got Izzy softening up a bit... go figure). 

Anyways, P also adjusted my noseband - shortened up the strap that goes over the crown by about two holes, then tightened the band itself by one. She didn't really want to crank it down on Izzy or piss her off or anything, but I apparently had it way too loose. 

The we got to jumping. Warm up combo was trotting into a triple - starting with an x, three strides to another x, then three to a small panel vertical. 

the 'caution' design has her thinking, 'hm maybe i should dive left'

After everyone made it through that, all three went up - first two became verticals and caution panels became an oxer. Cantering into this combo makes it two to two, and Isabel pretty much powered down it after our last jump school wherein I had her canter a 10-foot stride. 

Then came a one-stride line, set at an 18' distance. So this definitely called for a quiet and steady rhythm, rather than running hell-for-leather. Lovely Isabel was fine. 

For our final efforts, my friend from last week made another appearance. And this time it was perhaps even more technical. 

in case it didn't look big enough before, let's double the width!!

The rolltop was back in action, this time as a skinny, natch. The two sections were backed up to each other to create one big half circle. 

But lo - this was not our only skinny of the course. Jump one was a simple vertical with a long straight approach to a 'shark's tooth.' This guy is actually quite narrow, and probably called for a more forward ride on my part, rather than the holding I was actually doing.  

all the pretty colors

Then we bent around to a big wooden coop, by which point I had actually let go and allowed Isabel the freedom to move up to it. Shocker - it was a nicer effort. 

I kept this idea of forward freedom through to the rolltop, and it actually went pretty well. Isabel really over-jumps stuff like this, and our first time over it, the saddle actually ended up moving wayyy up onto her shoulders. 

But we fixed the saddle, and did it again. I pretty much rode it exactly the same, and had a little smoother sailing this time.

holdin on to that mane like it's my job

So all in all, it was a good lesson. I started really working on the idea of being quieter with my upper body, and sinking more into my seat over fences. Small steps, but they will eventually add up. 

Count down is on for our first starter horse trial Sept. 28!


  1. No shame in holding mane! Grab straps are also a favorite of mine, lol!

    1. haha thanks! i use a neck strap (on my martingale) but always seem to go for the mane instead of it. guess i just need to get into the habit

  2. Forward freedom will have to be my mantra when wiz and I get back to jumping too... You look great!

    1. thanks - it was actually a really useful concept! my tendency is to pick pick pick and micromanage right up to the fence, but it's much nicer to just allow the horse to move up to the right spot


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