Friday, October 24, 2014

pre-show lesson w a new trainer

So we did something that was either really stupid, or wise... depending on the outcome, I guess?? But the outcome was good, so we'll call it wise. 

Isabel and I, along with two other barn mates who are also showing tomorrow, took a lesson with a new trainer last night.


'your offerings, they plz me...' - isabel

I had originally thought it would be a dressage lesson, which is sorely needed (considering I haven't been able to connect with my own dressage trainer, and we are, uh, experiencing some technical difficulties). But it turned out that we would be jumping too. 


'ugh, do we have to??'

I was REALLY pleased with how this trainer structured the lesson. The main mantra was essentially: lift my hands, regulate my seat (and thus, pace), and get the horse using its hind end more effectively. In other words, work less as a rider so the horse has an easier time doing its own job. 

She took the time to explain why she wanted us adjusting our position, and what the end result should look like (but also how much time we should expect to practice that way before seeing super definitive results). 

trainer says - actually, your leg goes here. ya know. where it can be useful?

Isabel was in more or less the same mood on the flat as our previous ride - ie, not really trying and a bit sassy. But trainer C had me thinking less about her head and neck, and more about her pace and my own seat. 

It was a useful mental shift for me, and it got me thinking more about making the small changes that will eventually add up to a pretty picture. One particular hint that helped: she told me to connect my spine with Isabel's... for whatever reason, that mental picture seemed to work for me, position-wise. 

'this is a sick joke' - isabel

For jumping, we started with trotting into an X, complete with placing pole, and she told us straight up that she'd be picking apart our position. YES PLEASE!!!!! She zeroed right in on my pinched knees = toes pointing straight out issue, and had me focusing on stretching down and staying off me knees. 

Her solution was novel: C had me looking at *her* and counting however many fingers she had up during my approach and actual jump. It was enlightening- I could still stay with Isabel's motion even when not looking... but Izzy was also able to jump *better* with me staying more still instead of anticipating. Shocking, I know. 

placing poles were invented by the devil

Once we figured out how to get the quiet, slow pace (while still driving from the hind end), we added jump two. If the X was at F, more of less, the vertical (w placing poles before and after) was in the center. So it was a hard left turn from X to vertical, or a hard right in the other direction (captain obvious is obvious). 

The whole idea was to 1: set up the pace coming in to jump one, 2: be STILL and let the horse jump, and 3: maintain this stillness through the turn to jump two and allow the horse to find its own spot. You may recall that my jump trainer P has been telling me to allow Isabel to make her own decisions... and it's been difficult for me... but that's essentially what this trainer C asked too, and for whatever reason we were able to make it happen.  


 'whatevs, you only wish you could be this cool' - isabel

It actually worked out really well - I was able to let go and be still, and Isabel did exactly what we all know she can do: take care of business. We did it in both directions (predictably better going from vertical to X bc turning right is ALWAYS better, except for in dressage, duh), and Isabel pretty much proved that she can do anything with or without my input - preferably without lol. 

The trick, I guess, will be holding on to that feeling during our jumping rounds tomorrow. 

18 comments:

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    1. Thanks - it was! Got a new perspective on some some old problems

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  2. Wow, sounds like a great experience!

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    1. Thanks! We will most likely ride w this trainer again :)

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  3. Glad you had such a good ride with her!

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  4. Nice!! A connection with your trainer certainly helps!! Glad it went well!

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    1. I agree! Wasn't sure what to expect since I've never met her before, but my barn mates had heard good things

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  5. Good luck at the show :)
    And I love her browband!!

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    1. thanks! i was lusting after that browband forever and then it magically showed up at my local consignment shop in cob size. perfect!!

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  6. Good luck at the show! Don't you love never knowing if you're going to be doing Dressage or jumping in lessons? I like that lesson, it's essential for them to think for themselves in eventing.

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    1. thanks!! and yea - that's exactly what the trainer was stressing: we as riders WILL mess up, and will mess up badly. the horses have to be able to take care of themselves (and hopefully us too!) when that happens.

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  7. Sounds like an awesome lesson! So fab when they go according to plan, lol and you can learn so much! Good luck at the show! :)

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    1. thanks! it was definitely a lot of fun - we were all pretty pleased with the takeaways from that lesson

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