Friday, May 8, 2015

lesson: sit up & shoulders back!

As mentioned yesterday, some other exciting plans came up for this week. First on the docket: a lesson with Dan! He's apparently worked out an agreement with our farm wherein he'll come teach a bunch of lessons on a semi-regular basis, perhaps bi-weekly? 

Anyway, like our last lesson he had us warm ourselves up with minimal guidance (and quickly bc we were losing daylight fast and the damn arena lights STILL DON'T WORK OMG WTF). 

barrels from the bending line
His instruction in the canter: he wants my reins shorter (ugh c'mon emma... the canter in the video is prior to his remarks, so you'll see exactly what he meant) and getting Isabel soft and round using nothing but leg. Like, literally squeezing from hip to heel - but not heels digging into her side, toes must point forward. 

It really made a difference in Isabel - but he kept saying that I was still using too much hand so I ended up just planting my hands (with short reins) on her neck and squeeeeezing with my legs, keeping her on a circle. And whadya know - she had a lovely canter. 

trot like you mean it!!! (also - shorten your damn reins so you stop doing that weird wrist thing!)
We moved on to jumping and he kept the same course we set yesterday (uncommon for him) with some tweaks: he stretched out the two-stride line by maybe 6' and changed the direction of the oxer, then we only ever trotted in to it getting a quiet three (tho not too quiet for shorty Isabel lol). We started with trot fences tho, per usual. 

Our approaches and jumps seemed to go smoothly - but he wanted me really focusing on the back side of the fence. My tendency is to perch forward and get all handsy while Isabel charges into the corner (likely on the wrong lead, natch). He wanted me sitting up and bringing my shoulders back sooner. And again - the difference in Isabel is pretty obvious when I get it right. 


more barrels! (a theme lol)
After a couple trot fences and easy runs through the line (where the lesson was straightness - he wanted us riding straight to the rail, not cutting our corner or drifting), we moved on to the bending line from hogs back to barrels. Honestly this was actually really exciting for me bc I didn't even notice the bending option when I set the course up - but then in editing pics/video for yesterday's post it was so obvious and I kicked myself for not trying it haha. 


looking for the line
He wanted it in a quiet 4 - two strides straight from the hogs back before turning right two strides to the barrels. Isabel and I got pretty deep to the hogs back - but Dan prefers that to the leaper so it was peachy. Plus it set us up perfectly for the easy 4. 



And then we missed our turn up the oxer (changed now to a two-way swedish oxer) that he wanted us jumping on an angle. That left turn after the barrels came up FAST and I was pretty grateful for Isabel's nimbleness in making it work lol. 


swedish oxer on an angle
Lastly we turned the same course around - start right lead down the swedish oxer on an angle (so essentially cantering parallel to the rail, even tho the jump is on a diagonal), right turn to the barrels bending left to the hogs back in 4, right turn to the single outside vertical. 

The bending line in this direction was MUCH more of a struggle... and while there's only one attempt on the video we actually spent a bit of time on this. My first try (on the video) I seriously cut the turn to make it a straighter bend - but he wanted us to ride that corner just like we were actually going to the two stride line. We got the 4... but probably only bc we landed on the right lead (Izzy's favorite) making the left turn more awkward. 


'i got this' - isabel
(sorry for the extreme graininess but it was getting pretty dark by this point)

Next try I got a better turn, tho still not what he wanted. And we got three strides... oops! I finally got the turn he wanted - which was actually pretty technically challenging bc you're lined right up for the two strides to the swedish oxer straight ahead, but have to really help your horse stay with you and not lock on to the wrong fence... We made the striding work (but took down the hogs back once in doing so). But the distance to the barrels wasn't quite there for us. 


'whoa where is we goin!?!' - isabel
Dan told me not too worry to much about 'distances' tho. He said it was more important to have the right canter with 'jump' and power - and that the distances will take care of themselves. Which I find to be true when I'm actually riding with him and he's giving step-by-step instruction... but on my own it's more of a struggle lol. 



In any case I feel pretty good about the lesson. The bending line was definitely a more technical ride than we've done in a while... but I feel like jumping in OF's 20x40m indoor all winter gave us some serious steering skillz. Plus - when I remembered to really squeeze from hip to heel and sit up and back with my shoulders, it was SUPER easy to keep Isabel put together. 

I asked Dan if he thinks we're ready for beginner novice and he pretty casually said yea - and said the jumps got up to novice height in the lesson. I'm not quiiiite sure I believe that lol (esp bc in the past he's admitted he doesn't really notice the difference in heights in the lower levels, whereas I'm a zealot about measuring fences bc... wussiness haha). But still - confidence inspiring none the less :)

41 comments:

  1. Argh!! Wtf arena lights! We're also having issues with lighting over our riding area and it is tres merde!
    But, you guys look so good! You're doing so much lately it's so exciting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops comment froze, I also am a stickler for measuring fences! Just in case I surprise myself one day lol!!

      Delete
    2. thanks! it's been super exciting to get back into action after the quarantine--induced lull last month... and isabel has come back raring to go!! and yea, measuring fences is kinda a funny thing bc i do it by counting holes rather than using a stick, and i definitely lie to myself (like saying 5 inches is only 3 inches...) lol

      Delete
  2. #1 OMG I AM IN LOVE WITH YOUR POSITION OVER FENCES YOU LOOK AWESOME!!!

    #2 Great lesson recap

    #3 I think I need to stamp "SHORTEN YOUR DAMN REINS" on some gloves and you and I can wear them every ride...

    #4 You are totally running BN this year yay!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol thank you!! and YES - perhaps writing it on my gloves would work.... or maybe some colorful tape on the reins?? haha really anything would be better than my current state of affairs

      Delete
    2. Secret: I had the same problem with dressage and found that web reins with stops were SO helpful! Granted then I was looking down and occasionally counting stops to make sure I was keeping my hands in the same place... Lol

      And dude, you guys look FANTASTIC!!

      Delete
    3. Thanks! And actually, a confession: I've been riding w web reins w stops for the past year at my first dressage trainer's urging... And I still have a problem w it lol

      Delete
  3. You guys look so fantastic!!!! Your position, Iz's zest, your eye, it all rocks! The whole "leg on shoulders back" thing is the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. izzy's zest really makes all the rest easy. so long as i just do my job, she's guaranteed to put a little polish on it :)

      Delete
  4. You guys look amazing! Totally rocking it! Go team IZ! BN here you come :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. That "sit up" thing after a jump is my nemesis! You and Izzy look amazing and make it look easy! Measuring jumps is something I never did (who has time to find a tape measure?) but I did last week because I am preparing for possibly doing up to 2'3" in my next show. All along in my head I was thinking 2'3" is tiny - no problem! Then I measured what I was practicing currently...not. even. 2 feet. oh poo. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my method for measuring actually has to do with counting the holes (and assuming a 3" gap between each) - and is therefore pretty non-technical and prone to error. but i find this to be a good thing bc i can trick myself into believing 2'6" is actually only 2'3".... sometimes haha

      Delete
  6. You guys look fantastic! Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i also have to sit up more and not be so on her forehand. my landings are becoming better but i still have those moments i end up on her neck and ariel is NOT a fan of that at all.... you two look great though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! it's tricky for me bc in my head, i think i'm being light in the saddle by staying forward like that... but in reality it's just hindering my ability to re-balance the horse going into the corner...

      Delete
  8. You guys look totally ready and killin in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! isabel's definitely pretty enthusiastic about being allowed to jump bigger stuff haha

      Delete
  9. Dan sounds like a great instructor!! Plus BN! :) :) So exciting! You guys are looking so relaxed and confident over these fences. You've got this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i'm def enjoying riding with dan - he's more of a horse trainer than rider trainer, but he's very practical and consistent in what he wants to see

      Delete
  10. You look great! These minor position changes are so simple but make such a huge difference. I like Dan's approach, keeping things simple, concentrating on your position and the canter. Great recap! And can't wait to read all about you guys killing it in BN :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! it's crazy how much a little tweak in our own balance can change the overall picture... just more motivation to keep working at it!

      Delete
  11. Great exercise! I will have to try this one.
    I am just jelly you all have arena lights OUTSIDE! Cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the lights outside are AWESOME... when they work lol. and they haven't worked properly since sept of last year.... sometimes they're ok, sometimes they're not, and you never really know until you try. it's kinda a bummer lol

      Delete
  12. Excellent lesson! So ready for BN!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You guys look great! Izzy always looks like she's having such a good time while jumping :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i think she really enjoys it - esp when the sticks go up. now i just have to keep up w her haha

      Delete
  14. Awesome lesson. Sounds challenging and fun. Pushes you just enough to feel good that you can do it. Sweet. Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i definitely like the challenge - esp since it was the type of challenge that isabel can handle easily when i do my job, rather than the kind that crushes both of our confidence lol... those are NOT my fave

      Delete
  15. That sounds like a great lesson and he sounds like a good coach - exciting that he'll be able to be there more often!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty excited about more regular lessons!

      Delete
  16. I struggle with having short enough reins too. Also, I agree with Alli–you look great over fences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The reins problem is really haha - and I think a lot of ppl struggle w it... One day we will figure it out haha

      Delete
  17. Wow!! You guys look great!!! She can really go! I saw that pic of that big x jump and thought oh my..then I saw the video and she just floated over it like it was no big deal! Looks like a super fun lesson too. Glad to see you guys back at it!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i'm so happy to be back at it too - and isabel feels like she could float over pretty much anything right now!

      Delete