Thursday, May 21, 2015

bone jarring but not too bad

My first lesson (and ride, actually) since Jenny Camp was with Dan and focused pretty intensely on preparing for this Sunday's event at Loch Moy. It ended up being a private lesson for various unexpected reasons, and absolutely kicked my ass lol. Not in a bad way necessarily - but the exercises challenged me and exposed a few weaknesses. Isabel was a SAINT tho :)


We drilled into my flat work a little - particularly that pesky inside bend thing that came up repeatedly in my dressage test comments. Dan said that during a test you can cheat and use the inside rein - but for schooling I should be achieving that inside bend through correct application of the outside aids and inside leg. Inside rein is neutral. 

He had me trot a circle and think 'leg yield' out. He's said that before and I've never really figured it out - but this time he broke it down to 'moving Isabel's shoulders out.' Which was an eye opener for me bc I was thinking about her haunches apparently. So he wanted my inside leg forward at the girth - and actually wanted me bumping Isabel's shoulder with my toe a couple times just to tune her in.

We repeated at canter too. It was definitely discombobulating - esp since I really wanted to curl my legs up under me and grab at that inside rein. And also, ya know, bc I can't actually sit the canter yet... *sigh*. But it added clarity to what I should be working on, and I'll continue the conversation with C at our next dressage lesson (tomorrow!!).



The jumping exercise was essentially modified coursework. Each long side had a line - a one stride (with placing pole) on one side, and a forward 3 or quiet 4 stride line on the other. We warmed up over the longer line first - going back and forth getting the 3, then the 4, then the 3, etc etc. I got the 3 each try - but it took a few tries for the 4 (went from 3 to 5... oops). 

The other fences were two barrels as a skinny at the short end by the gate, and a wide oxer on the FXH diagonal.



After working on the 3/4 line to find our canter, we trotted the barrels once to get Izzy's eye on them (she was fine), then moved into the course exercise. We started with the outside line in 3 strides, bending left to the barrels in 5, then left turn to the oxer on the diagonal, right turn to the one stride down the other outside line.



We started there... and kinda stayed there for a while haha bc I could NOT get the pieces all working together. We'd get 3 in the line, but then 6 to the barrels... or 4 in the line and 5 to the barrels. And that turn to the oxer... man it was TOUGH. Esp bc Isabel usually lands on her right lead and the left turn was just messy messy. 


hard to tell from this (uber-flattering) angle but it felt like i knocked a tooth loose... 
We missed the oxer badly once when I jumped ahead and she added one last stride (it doesn't look like much in the video but take my word for it - it was JARRING). It was exactly the type of rider error that can result in a stop and serious fall.... but Isabel's a very good girl and kept going in a straight line while I pulled myself together. 

Dan's diagnosis was that I came out of the turn too flat and fast - and that when he tells me 'forward' what he really wants is more lift through the shoulders and 'jump' in the canter.


let her gooooooooo!!
These sketchy moments weren't terrible tho. Definitely not pretty - but I felt like I was learning with each mistake and Isabel stayed with me. Interestingly, tho - I didn't feel as secure in my position as I have been lately and was grabbing for the mane as often as not. And there was no real release to be had for poor princess... Might just be bc the jumps were a little bigger (Dan said they got up to between novice and training - tho I'm not quite sure) but it's definitely something that needs work regardless. 



Anyway, after I managed to do the exercise some justice in that order, we turned it around - so now starting left lead up the one stride, left turn to the oxer (which Dan reversed... and lowered, whomp whomp), right turn to barrels, 5 strides to outside line in 3 forward strides.

And I promptly ran Isabel through the first jump of the one stride... oops. Dan wanted me really working to lift Isabel's shoulders in the canter - and not let her get so flat. He also recommended coming in to the line from a bending approach (like a circle) rather than the long straight shot in that I had taken. He said this gives me more control in adjusting my canter in the approach, as I can add or subtract bend.

neeeeeed water!! thank god i ride a short horse and can reach the mounting block haha
After a few more tries we finally got the whole thing done as it was intended. It wasn't perfectly smooth - I had to work pretty hard to make the 5 strides happen, tho it would have been easier if my hands were softer. And the 3 strides actually came up a little tight in the line. But whatever. We did it!



So yea... challenging. It was good tho. The size of the fences actually didn't bother me mentally. They messed with my riding a bit - but it felt fixable. And Isabel clearly wasn't fazed by them. 

And we won't be seeing anything close to this complexity in a BN stadium round - though I WILL need to make sure I create the right canter all the same to avoid knocking stuff down.

18 comments:

  1. Sounds like a REALLY tough lesson! I usually like challenging lessons like this though, really makes you think and concentrate and put all the pieces together! And remember, you'll be a better rider for it :)

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    1. Yea it was tough haha (and my teeth still kinda hurt, which is a truly bizarre sensation lol) - but you are totally right. I feel pretty good about the outcomes and what I got from it

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  2. Dude. I am just amazed every time I watch video of you and Isabel! I know that your rounds weren't perfect, but just the fact that you are doing these courses is incredible. You are going to KILL IT at BN next weekend! I love what Dan said to you about a "forward" canter being a more "up" canter. Lots of good stuff to chew on here!

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    1. Thanks! It was definitely an "aha" moment when he said that about what "forward" means bc I totally misunderstood and just gunned it lol. Honestly tho - Isabel is just so good that I think I could do anything on her lol

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  3. Wow. Looks like you both got a pretty darn good workout! You and Is inspire my rides with ideas!

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    1. It was a SERIOUS workout (on an already hot day... Ick). Thanks tho - I am so fortunate to ride with really creative trainers who always have us doing interesting and productive exercises haha

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  4. I can't get over how springy she is!

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    1. Haha yea she's got hops! I'm not always the best at sitting her jump too, but it's certainly fun :)

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  5. I love your camera ladies comments haha - also watching that video made me miss jumping Jimmy so much

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    1. Lol I giggled too when I listened... But yea Isabel is a blast to jump

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  6. I think you guys look great- that adjustability is so key to jumping, and something I need to work on myself (whoops).

    Your videographer's sighs, haha- but really, her commentary cracked me up!

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    1. I really like these adjustability exercises too - and izzy is so good at them! It makes it hard to work on my eye tho bc the canter is always changing lol. But dan says the distances don't matter if you have the right canter so... We will see haha

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  7. She looks like so much fun! I can tell from the video that you really did learn from the ones that didn't go flawlessly - that's what lessons are for after all. And Izzy looks like she couldn't care less what distance she gets, she's just happy to be jumping, so that's always a plus!

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    1. haha seriously!! the day this horse doesn't want to jump any more (and from anywhere) will be a very sad day indeed, and likely will be 100% my fault... so hopefully it never happens!

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  8. Good ass kicking lessons are the best!!!

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    1. they're hard but totally worth it! i just have to be patient with myself lol

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  9. Nice challenging lesson right before the move-up show!!

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    1. haha hopefully the stadium round will feel easy after this! just gotta avoid running the poor horse *through* the fences lol

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