Thursday, August 6, 2015

when all else fails, get a sense of humor

As of this past week, B and I moved to a new lesson group at OF. Lots of upsides to this change (new group mates are boarders with more experience and who ride more frequently - meaning they're up for more complicated exercises; and the lesson is later in the day so I can actually *gasp* sleep in one day a week) and only superficial downsides (later in the day means it's hotter out, plus mostly impossible to schedule any other daytime activities). So far we like it!!

walking to the arena at OF is practically a mini trail ride in and of itself
It's funny bc the group mates are still like 13 yrs old.... but whatever they're quite talented little riders who lack all those pesky confidence issues with which we adults are all all too familiar.

she really makes it look easy sometimes
Anyways it was stupid hot/humid out (per usual) and Isabel was uncharacteristically quite difficult to get going. Maybe we overdid it with the flat work, I don't know... but when we started by trotting over a small vertical with placing pole I almost picked up a crop. And we embarrassingly almost stopped at the fence once.... nvm that it was a glorified cavaletti. Wtf mare, GO!!

She started clicking into gear a little better once we started actual course work (tho honestly she stayed stuck behind my leg most of the ride). And things were mostly peachy once I remembered to make establishing a nice canter the priority.

it's funny that she used to give that plank the stink eye this time last summer. 
We eventually built the single vertical up into a triple combination of an easy 30' 2-stride to 30' 2-stride, where the name of the game was sitting chilly and not chasing the horses through. Izzy was fine, tho we continued to trot into the exercise and trot fences are absolutely NOT my favorite... Plus trainer P noted (and you can see in the pictures) that I was standing too much on my tippy-toes and needed to sink more weight into my heels. #workingonit

plenty to like here... but the entire picture will improve top-to-bottom with a stronger lower leg
We added a long diagonal line to the mix - measured for 6 tho the OTTBs in the group were getting it done in a forward 5. Isabel and I did a nicely balanced 6 the first time, but then when we put it all together for a course I failed to re-balance the canter (which was building through the course) or adjust my game plan to move up for the 5, and we kinda ate it over the fence..

the mare's either going to eventually quit on me, or grow a wicked sense of humor!
So that was kind of awkward... And annoying too bc I have this nasty tendency to let things devolve throughout a lesson until I make a big-ish mistake that snaps me back to attention. That's not really super fair to the mare... but there's not much I can do about it except keep on trying to get better. Le sigh.

she did NOT want to knock anything else down!
We went back and sorta fixed the line, tho we kinda wiggled down it (meaning I failed at the #1 rider responsibility according to Mr O'Connor: DIRECTION!) and had to gallop a little to get the 6. Then went around and finished the course just fine going up a 3 stride line.


Looking back over recent jump lesson recaps, we seem to be crashing into or smashing through fences more frequently these days. I think it's a function of jumping bigger fences (for instance, the crash pictured above wouldn't have happened if the fence was 2' - notice that Isabel still cleared the lowest pole of the vertical) and trying to put new techniques/concepts into action.

So I'm not exactly worried about it, per se, and despite the nasty fences these lessons have been among our best jumping experiences to date. It's just that the failures become more and more spectacular as the complexity increases I guess....

All the same tho, the last thing I want to do is undermine Isabel's (or my own) confidence or turn her into a stopper, so it's on my radar. We've got a couple exciting outings coming up tho (including at least one xc schooling and a jumpers show) so we'll see what happens!

18 comments:

  1. Maybe it's something in the air. My jump lessons have been less than stellar lately too. Perhaps you are right in that it is just a change in complexity. It does seem as though every time you get comfortable your coach will shake things up. lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. maybe. it's funny bc really the lessons aren't 'less than stellar' - the general feeling is really positive: we're learning a lot and isabel is doing well. but the 'blips' that happen in every lesson ever just seem to be more dramatic now.

      Delete
    2. I would agree with that. I guess it's not so much a problem with the lesson as the trying to shove the new concepts into the deck without dropping any cards.

      Delete
    3. wow i actually really love that metaphor - that's exactly what it feels like!

      Delete
  2. Yeah, the blips become more dramatic when heights go up or courses get more complex. That's part of learning, I guess. Happens to all of us, just gotta keep practicing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea i think you're right. i want to keep an eye on it just to make sure i'm not actually missing something (like a training hole or something)... but i think it's just the growing pains of moving up

      Delete
  3. Never underestimate how HARD it is to move up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and that is the TRUTH. it's so easy for me to think, hey 2'6" finally looks like nbd, what's another 3-6 inches?? HA.

      Delete
  4. Your position is rock solid! I would have fallen off :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ehhhhhh i actually wasn't quite so sure while it was actually happening lol. in the pics where the standard blocks the view, my legs are entirely in front of the saddle. if izzy had fully stopped it's quite possible that i would have lawn-darted... but it didn't happen and the ship was righted. phew!

      Delete
  5. I also hate trotting jumps. It's just so awkward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omg so awkward... i always feel like such a dunce doing it too haha

      Delete
  6. She has the cutest darn jump. I don't care if you have little fumbles here and there. You guys still look great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol thanks! she's such a blast to jump, really truly

      Delete
  7. Oops! But well ridden. :0) That little mare's got some speed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha thanks - she can really move out when she feels like it!

      Delete
  8. Oh Isabel. I wouldn't worry. She'll let know know the minute she's done with you. ;)

    I keep imagining Mad Eye Mooney from Harry Potter yelling out DOC's rider responsibilities. Is that wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha i think you're right - on every single level lol

      Delete