Tuesday, June 2, 2015

grid time @ OF

This weekend's lesson at OF was perhaps the first return to lesson normalcy since Isabel's flu back in April. We had been either just getting back into work, or deep into show prep mode - kinda coloring the expectations etc for the lesson. But this weekend was just a regular old lesson with nothing big and important either before or after. It was a nice change! 

Plus, there were only four of us riding - me and B, plus two teens who are nice riders and fun to lesson with. And since we were all pretty good about following directions and moving through each exercise smoothly, we got to do a little more jumping than normal. Woo hoo! 

isabel apparently dozing pre-lesson
There is some video from the ride - but nothing spectacular (not that I have high standards) enough to share. Our sainted videographers maybe weren't having the best day lol. Eh... sometimes ya win and sometimes ya don't with video, and beggars can't be choosers right? 


yes emma, i think your hands are far enough forward for that X (also, close your fingers!)
Anyway, I digress. We warmed up trotting an X (complete with placing pole), then added an oxer on a bending line. I was working on letting go over the fences, and while my general positioning couldn't exactly be considered 'classical' (or 'correct' lol) I think exaggerating it a little bit will help commit the feeling to muscle memory. 


ummm wtf?
Isabel continued her trend of being unimpressed by lower fences - as evidenced by the above gem. For the record, we didn't knock the pole - it was intentionally left down while we warmed up. And what is Isabel even doing? She's kinda famous for cracking her back over the merest of cross rails, so I think the concept of 'cantering' a fence is new to her lol. 


that's a little better
She was very good all the same tho - no snarkiness either. And I found that after working so hard to push my damn hands forward over the fences, she was more willing to go for a longer spot when we didn't quite get the distance right (rather than squishing in an ugly last stride). 

Then we moved on to a super fun grid exercise that was actually reminiscent of our last lesson with Dan. A one stride grid (set at 18", with a trot pole going in) led to three options: bending either direction or staying straight ahead. The three options from left to right were the "liver pool", my favorite ever roll top (ugh), and the rainbow jump.


fun grid
I was pretty excited to work on this exercise too. It was interesting tho, riding it with trainer P after riding it with Dan. P is much less concerned about the number of strides between fences. They're measured, sure, and she'll tell you what they measured to - and she also expects her students to be counting strides (and frequently quizzes riders after a course: "how many strides did you get?"). 


three options out of the grid
But she's very much a proponent of riding what you got vs. riding to a specific number every time. In other words, she wants me making adjustments to my plan if we get a tight jump in, for example. Especially with the bending lines she didn't want me riding in saying 'I will get 3 here.' She wanted me to 'allow' the 3 to happen. Slight difference, but important none the less. 



It was especially obvious when I landed out of the one stride kicking and clucking and chasing like a maniac - to get an ulgy 4 anyway, oops. She instructed me to just 'let it happen' and I rode much more quietly the next time and boom, the 3 strides was right there. 


apparently still defensive about that roll top lol
It was mildly hilarious going to the roll top tho - as I was apparently quite willing to 'allow' an extra 5th stride to happen... but Isabel had other plans and took a long-ish spot after 4 strides anyway. She's such a good girl! Not sure why this particular fence always causes me so many issues, but whatever. Hadn't jumped it since last November (when it was backwards and thus looked like a much less scary gate instead) so it's good to get over it again. 


post lesson bath time
So it was a fun lesson. The fences were all set around maybe 2'3" - but they were good fences for *thinking* and staying present with the ride. And all four horse/rider pairs seemed to have productive rides, even when everything didn't necessarily go immediately to plan. I definitely appreciate the smaller lesson size! What do you think is the best group size for a jumping lesson? Does it depend on how long the lesson is?

28 comments:

  1. That looks like a really good exercise! Definitely want to try it for my next jump session!

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    1. it was fun! and the bending lines are actually quite forgiving bc you can easily adjust for more or less bend depending on how your in-jump went. works well!

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  2. Yeesh, I haven't had a real group lesson since last year! All of my lessons on Roger are private, which I like. Each clinic session had 2 people in it, so it was nice to ride with someone else for a change.

    That exercise is awesome! You and Izzy look great :) I definitely like the philosophy of "let it happen" and riding what you've got....sometimes the long spot is the best option!

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    1. i really like private lessons for the intensity, but simultaneously i'm a very visual learner and can learn a lot from watching other riders. but a group of 2-4 total seems to be my happy palce

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  3. hooray for normalcy! you and izz always seem to have a good deal of fun, no matter the task ;)

    my lessons are generally 2-3 riders and their horse. in general, i prefer smaller classes because you get more out of it--especially if you don't ride frequently.

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    1. fun is absolutely the name of the game! every ride can't be perfect (or be a total blast), but i try to keep the overall picture very positive. and i agree with you - smaller classes are my preference too. when the lessons get too big it just gets too confusing

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  4. I think for a good group lesson, 3-4 similarly skilled riders have a great time. 5+ riders you start getting bored while waiting your turn, even if you are trying to learn from the other riders, and 2 is just a semi private to give you a rest when you need one.

    At least. That's what I see in my students all the time.

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    1. yea i tend to agree with you. our lessons at OF sometimes climb up to 8 riders and.... it's a little much haha. tho most of my lessons (esp through college) tended to be in the 5-6 size range, and that was ok when everybody was mostly on the same page. but 4 or fewer seems to be my sweet spot

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  5. Fences certainly don't have to be high when thinking is involved!! Glad you had a great lesson!

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    1. that is the truth! fences don't even have to be fences - cross rails can certainly be complex enough with the right exercises haha

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  6. I do the 'I'll just allow this add to happen' a lot and have been getting a bit left behind too. I know that feeling!

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    1. haha yep - that's pretty much the story of my life. oh well, at least our horses have a sense of humor :D

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  7. I was never a group lesson person, probably because I didn't board my horses when I was younger and lessoning frequently!

    When we'd do group lessons in Pony Club, I always liked it when there would be 3-4 other people; any more and I would feel like I didn't accomplish anything because there were just so many people to get through! I always liked big XC schooling groups, though.

    I let the long spot happen all.the.time. Moe likes to leap toward jumps from the next county away, so my eye has just gotten used to the super long distance!! Gina is not a fan.

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    1. big xc schooling groups are a lot of fun! esp when you have all the time in the world to hang out and 'trail ride' around all the obstacles haha. and i hear ya about allowing the 'long spot' - except i much prefer the tighter distance. my horse is also not a fan tho lol

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  8. What a great grid! I'm going to steal this idea the next time I set up a course :)

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    1. oooh definitely do and let us know how it goes!

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  9. Maybe if that roll top were purple, it would be less scary!

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    1. I like this idea! In fact I just painted two cut-out walls at our barn with purple and blue cow spots, so maybe they won't terrify me?!! (Just wait til I add the glitter!!)

      Anyway, I love your lesson footage AND your XXXtreme auto release. ;)

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  10. I agree that roll tops are scary!

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    1. isn't it funny? i dont' mind the ones that have a flat face with a rolled top - but the ones that arc up from the ground really bother me lol. it makes zero sense but it is what it is!

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  11. That looks like a super fun lesson! Love how you have a rolltop too :)
    I really like a group of 3 - 4. Two seems like not enough to always be fun, and more than 4 means it's hard for the coach to help everyone and fit more than a round or two in

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    1. haha i both love and hate that there's a rolltop... and i agree 3-4 is a nice group. i like 2 as well, but it can be tough when one horse/rider is really struggling and the other pair isn't, it's hard not get kinda down on yourself

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  12. That exercise looks super fun! Maybe I'll suggest it to my trainer the next time we do some jumping. I've only been in group jumping lessons of two for about one hour, and that's worked out great so far.I wouldn't mind a bigger group though..it's nice to sit and watch other folks have a go!

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    1. i like watching too!! the only thing i hate about bigger groups is when riders aren't prompt in taking their turns (like just standing around chatting not paying attention). and you should suggest a grid for your lesson! there are so many different configurations and they're all super fun!

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  13. I have such a bad habit of letting my fingers open ever so slightly! No bueno.

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    1. me toooooo. literally every trainer i've ever ridden with dings me for it. and yet the habit persists...

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  14. Your posts always make me miss jumping! That exercise looks super fun.

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    1. it was super fun - i may or may not be slightly addicted to jumping haha. maybe TC wants to cross train??!? ;P

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