Friday, October 23, 2015

speed: the enemy of adjustability

Phew, finally a post that I can keep fairly brief, after so many days in a row of looonnnnggg pictorials haha. Our first ride post horse trial was a lesson with Dan. No ride media tho, so I'm still working through photos from Austen. Really, I can't get enough of these!

she's not spoiled at all ;)
Anyway, we kept the lesson pretty simple. I told him about our performance at Loch Moy, particularly the stadium round, and he was, er, not really impressed.

He reaffirmed what I suspected too - that I should have given myself more time between cross country schooling and the event to reestablish our slow and collected flat work in the ring.

Essentially, the big takeaway was that speed is the enemy of adjustability. And by not working to fix that and just allowing Isabel to blast through our stadium round, I pretty much guaranteed that we would have rails. Again, Dan wanted me thinking about distinct riding styles between each phase - and that concept of really pushing the mare up into the bridle with hands halfway up the neck was for cross country, not show jumping.

left side: girthy mare glare. right side: sweetness and light
So for the ride itself, he had us start out with that long and low trot work we established a couple weeks ago. Isabel started out very retracted in her neck and it took a while to fix that. And especially through transitions, he said not to let her get so straight through her body. We NEED inside bend.

He wanted me thinking of having Isabel in shoulder in on the circle - especially at canter. By working on that positioning I should be able to do less with my hands, thus also allowing Isabel to lengthen her neck and soften to my hands.

It actually wasn't all that hard to achieve, but it took time and patience. When I'm schooling on my own I just lack that discipline to wait for the mare to soften and stop bracing before I do things like transition up. Theoretically that's something that should be able to fix. Just be patient and disciplined. Easy peasy, right?

Anyway, jumping was pretty basic - just building on the same concepts. He wanted me to continue thinking of that shoulder in positioning while circling over a cross rail, and then eventually a line. And by doing so, I could rate and balance her without being super handsy. It also helped me land the leads (sorta lol).

yes to flying! no to racing around like a bat out of hell
And by the end of the ride Isabel felt much closer to her normal self and was way less reactive and rigid to the legs. So my plan for the week is to keep building on these same ideas - inside bend, longer neck, shoulder in positioning, etc etc - on the flat to really get Isabel back to her normal fancy well-schooled self.

The rain date for the Oktoberfest horse trial at Olde Hope is this Sunday, and I plan to again treat it like schooling. Especially that stadium round - I would like to ride that course as if Dan were watching and critiquing. No racing around getting flat and fast!

So we'll see how the last couple rides go between now and then, starting with tonight! Happy Friday everyone :)

24 comments:

  1. Being patient and disciplined is one of the hardest things to learn. Especially when you want to "fix" things and the reality is you have to out wait your horse.
    I get the feeling Dan is hard to impress.

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    1. He definitely is! He has high expectations...but when he says "good" or anything remotely towards accepting what you've done, you know it was really good!

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    2. haha seriously - i always knew patience was a struggle, but i think i've been misinterpreting 'disciplined,' in a way, and have been using it as an excuse to rush along my horse and be overly demanding without being patient enough. so that's a new focus! and yea, dan is... an ambitious and driven individual. it's not so much that he's hard to impress, as it is that he's very very clear on what he wants to see his students ride. and it's a pretty narrow definition lol.

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    3. I agree! Patience and discipline are the hardest.... Dan does sound hard to impress - but in a good way :)

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    4. omg so hard.... definitely not my strength haha. and yea, i mean dan is always really clear when you get things right - so he's maybe not as much of a brick wall as these posts might make him seem. but high expectations all the same...

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    5. High expectations are good. All I meant was he wasn't going to be doing any happy dances. If he ever does a happy dance you had better get it on video ;)
      My problem is I gets patience confused with doing nothing. While I'm waiting things out I have to actively do something not just sit there.

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    6. ah, see i have the opposite problem with patience - i don't have enough of it and become too pushy or demanding or frustrated. and, erm, no probably NOT gonna see dan do a happy dance lol! tho he is very quick to praise a correct decision or moment - usually with an emphatic 'YES', which occasionally can be heard in some of my videos

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  2. Oooh yes, I am feeling this lately, too! More in our flatwork than in the jumping though - when I ask/allow for too much forward without straightness, I suddenly lose all ability to adjust the pony, and we're careening around the field all out of balance. No bueno! Have fun this weekend, I'm sure I will chat with you before then!! :)

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    1. yep - it really is all about the flat work! and without that tho, the jumping will suffer.... it's funny tho - our problem isn't straightness - we're actually much too straight. crazy how different horses need different types of support!

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    2. Well, straightness being relative to the appropriate bend/shape for whatever you're doing! Slowing down and getting the haunches appropriately in line works wonders!

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  3. You two did really well in this lesson! You could tell that shoulder fore really helped to soften Isabelle. And lacking discipline outside of lessons....yeaaaaa. lol I know that tune!

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    1. thanks! it was the perfect lesson to re-calibrate between horse shows! now i just need to keep riding like that outside of lessons too lol.

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    1. thanks! i'm really looking forward to this show, but in an entirely different way from the recent loch moy event. should be a good time!

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  5. This is why I take lessons. :) When I am on my own I rarely spend enough time on all the things. Have a great time at Oktoberfest!

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    1. thanks! and i agree- i really am at my best as a rider while actively being instructed... and can only hope that one day i'll be able to ride just as well outside of lessons ;)

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  6. I think we all struggle a bit with pushing for the same things we get out of lessons when on our own. And this is why I laugh when people say things like "You take lessons? I thought you already knew how to ride!"

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    1. haha right? just like it's funny when ppl get surprised that horses all have different personalities... but yea, recreating that magic from a lesson on my own is always a struggle.

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  7. Being patient is difficult! I hope the Oktoberfest goes well for you!

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    1. thanks! i think it'll be a lot of fun :D

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  8. Sounds like a fab lessons! Some great takeaways

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    1. i'm actually really pleased with the takeaways. one of these days i'll actually have it all figured out, but for now i just use this blog as reference material lol

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  9. Great post! And yes, sometimes after xc it is hard to ride to jumps so differently. Love all the pics!

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