Thursday, November 13, 2014

jumping in the dark

We had one final night of fairly balmy temperatures (mid 60s!) before the rain ushers in a cold snap (low 40s, boo). Obviously, we had to capitalize on this. 


And I was far from the only one feeling this way: quite a few folks were also out riding, including the trainers (you can catch glimpses of my friend's new Hanoverian in the video... FANCY!), other boarders, and students who had earned free rides. Some people were even riding later than me, which is SUPER rare. 


And, extra special bonus - there was already a course set up in the arena from earlier lessons, so all I had to do was reset the height (mostly around 2' - 2'3" and an X that might have been lower in the center). 


But first, I wanted to dig into our flat work a bit. Thanks to everyone who commented on my post 'on the forehand?' - your feedback was super helpful and insightful! My biggest takeaway is to focus on rhythm and balance. 


To this end, I tried to do some transitions within the gaits (mostly at the walk, but some trot), and worked on stabilizing my hands in a fairly neutral position and adding leg leg leg. 


And Isabel responded beautifully. We have so much work to do... just so so much. But when she's in this kind of mood, it's work that's easy to enjoy - and makes me think that we're eventually going to get somewhere really cool.  


We took lots of walk breaks, tho, bc it really was pretty warm-ish, and Isabel heated up quickly. I also didn't want to drill. Maybe this is the double edged sword of Isabel's good moods: they're so nice and relaxing that I don't want to mess it up. So I keep it easy, when maybe I should be seizing the opportunity to push our boundaries a little. 


But whatever, I still feel like it was productive flat work. And I wanted to pop over the fences to see if I could get some improvements from our Saturday lesson. On Saturday I felt like my eye was just way off, and instead of letting Isabel get to the fence on her own, I just picked picked picked and we got some stupid ugly chips. 


So for this ride I tried to remember previous lessons (particularly with C and Dan) wherein I just set up Isabel's pace then sat still to allow her to move up (or not!) as she felt appropriate. I've really got to give this mare credit: she's taken our education this spring/summer to heart and understands so much better how to get herself to the jump. I really can trust her now. 


And this ride was *really* interesting, in that Isabel was TAKING me to the fences. Not out of control, and not rude. She was getting herself to safe distances. But she was also seriously moving herself up to them. It was kind of awesome :)


You can see it in the video - she was just cruising around, and I was more or less a passenger. Exactly as she likes it for jumping. But you can also see - for the last jump in the last course, she still listened to me when I asked her to balance a few strides out. Good mare! This is exactly what I want for cross country: a horse that knows how to put itself in the right place for a jump, but still tunes in to me. Now if only we can get past changes of terrain lol...


enjoy video of isabel rocking out in the dark

no shave november? <3

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like an awesome ride! My gelding is moody, so I understand not wanting to pick a fight when they're being good! Sometimes just ending on a good note feels like a great lesson. :)

    (Is it just me, or are the letter captchas getting even harder to read?)

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    1. yea... the moodiness is definitely real lol... and yea, the captchas are the bane of my existence - am probably just gonna nix 'em here

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  2. Sounds like you did all the right things! I love your blog so much because it seems like we have a lot of the same difficulties! It's refreshing to know it's not just me.

    #stripeyfacedredmaresforthewin

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    1. thanks! and i've definitely enjoyed reading your blog for the same reasons lol. plus all the motivation to pack in more bareback rides :)

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  3. I love riding at night, and think it's really good for the horses to learn how to cope with different situations :)

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    1. i tend to agree - it made me really nervous at first, esp bc the neighboring deer bed down in the woods literally right outside the arena fence (they have no respect for us, clearly) and are pretty noisy... but this will be our third winter of night riding and i'm pretty ok with it now

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  4. Riding in the dark can be hard but you guys look good.

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    1. thanks! it's definitely challenging, and this is our first season of really actually jumping under the lights but she's handling it surprisingly well - makes me happy!

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  5. Woohoo!! Rockin' it with the spotlights!

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    1. lol she loves to be center stage :)

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  6. Yay! What a fun video to watch! You guys are flying! It's kinda cool with the shadows and lights..she took good care of you despite it all. What a good partnership you guys have!

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    1. thanks! the lights + shadows definitely make it interesting, tho the video makes it look a little more stark than it actually is. all the same, she's a very good girl :)

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  7. Rocking it girls!
    Totes agree on not wanting to pick a fight when they are being good. K can be a right hot head when she throws in the towel, we have managed to avoid a bug bust up for a good while, but i could feel her getting annoyed at me last night & I can't say I blamed her. However we managed to salvage things before the volcano erupted and ended on a good note & I got what I wanted. WIN in my book ☺

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    1. yep - that's a win in my book too! it's supposed to be fun, right? :)

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  8. With she shadows and everything, the pictures are so dramatic-looking! Fun video :)

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    1. thanks! i kinda love the lighting for the pics too :)

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  9. That looks like so much fun!! She is such a cutie. I love her little Arab tail flagging after the jumps. :D

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    1. thanks! she's definitely very proud of that tail :)

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  10. I think the hardest part about jumping is learning to stay out of their way and not micromanaging. You guys are looking really nice!

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    1. you're absolutely right - the day i can be *truly* still will be the day we can start moving up to the next height...

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  11. I love the way your pictures look when you're riding out of the dark! Very pretty! :) Love the video - you guys look great! :)

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    1. thanks! the light definitely adds a lot of drama - i love the way the pics turn out too!

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  12. You are so so lucky to have lights in your outdoor! I'd kill for that!

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    1. yea i'm eternally grateful for them!! altho there's some weird short in the system so that if they get turned off they can't turn back on for a while - which has definitely led to some very sad moments after driving thru rush hour traffic...

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