Thursday, January 7, 2016

officially flying again !!

Between hitting the reset button while schooling at home, getting back into the dressage zone with trainer C, and letting Isabel fly into her gallop on the trails with Austen, Jen and Brita, things *finally* clicked back together for our second jump lesson since October.

hangin out, waiting for our turn
So this post might come off as moderately (and unapologetically) photo-spammy. Sorry not sorry. Not only was this ride SUPER fun compared to the previous week's lesson, it actually clocks in as one of maybe our best ever jump lessons. Ever.

kinda dark but i luv it anyway
Sure there were mistakes, the jumps weren't up to our full competition height (they stayed around 2'6" and below), and we were generally much too fast through all the exercises. But whatever. It felt so good - Isabel and I operated as a single unit, the forward distances were right there for us every time, and I felt like the timing of my aids (as in, dramatic half halt to rebalance through the turn, then ride forward to the fence) was as good as it's ever been.

look at her expression! so happy!
PLUS. We did lots of really fun exercises in the lesson too. Not that long lines of fences all set at one stride distances isn't fun... but it was a little taxing and overwhelming for a horse that hasn't had to be that quick on her feet in a while.

sass!!!
So this week we started by building up to a line of three jumps set at 30' two stride distances. And Isabel was FRESH haha. Actually, all the horses were lol. Perhaps the chilly weather and setting sun? Idk. Whatever the case, Isabel was landing raring to go. Trainer P wanted us to settle more into the line, but generally was pleased to see Isabel so enthusiastic about her job.

oxers weren't a problem this week
Then we worked through two different (but super fun!) three fence bending line exercises. First up, we came in through a 24' one stride line on the left lead, then landed bending right to catch an oxer in three strides.

wheeeeeeeee!!!!
The 24' one stride had me pretttttty nervous, since historically I really struggle with finding a true open 12' stride on Isabel that doesn't devolve into fast-n-flat. But it was fine. Well, it was too fast the first time (and our left-drift issues helped save my butt by giving us extra room to fit in the third stride to the oxer lol) so trainer P had us come through again a little quieter.

one of the few times our left drift is an asset
But Isabel was SUPER game to it - good mare! This same bending line ended up built into the full course we did at the end of the lesson (in the video below).


The other awesome bending line started with the same first jump off the left lead, but on a pretty severe angle to catch the blue and red below in a balanced two strides bending right, then land and bend even further right three strides to the out jump. 

slicing fences like nbd
Given the nature of the approach and changes in bend (not to mention more compact distances), I actually balanced for the kind of canter that we should have had for the rest of the lesson too... Eh, at least I know that canter is still in there!


Really tho, we were kinda just bombing around all the fences and it was *awesome sauce* lol. Next up we schooled down a three stride line that I probably was again still too strong through... but it was fine. Honestly I think some of the speed issues came from my own nerves - just closing my leg and hoping for the best. Isabel of course was happy to acquiesce lol.

majestic back-lit tail flick
Part of me almost wanted to quit while we were ahead at that point, rather than going through the whole course to finish off the lesson. But I am so glad we kept going - the course was as perfect (tho still too fast) as the rest of the lesson. Isabel was completely in the zone. The fences could have been 2' or 3' and I don't think it would have made a difference to the mare.

#lovethishorse
It might have made a difference to me tho, bc like I said, I did actually have some nerves during this ride - kinda like that hollow feeling in the bottom of your gut? Nothing terrible or crippling, just something worth acknowledging.


I don't think it'll be a problem tho - just a symptom of spending 2 months out of the saddle and being a little unsure of myself. This lesson went a long way towards reassuring me tho. I felt solid in the saddle - and actually a little softer in my upper body (particularly with my release) than I'm used to. Perhaps the time off melted away some of the muscular tension that had built up?

all the pets for a good girl
The only catch will be to make sure that my nervous energy doesn't make this too-fast ride our normal style, and that I also take care to try and maintain the new softness in my arms, rather than start getting grabby and tight again. 

We'll see!! The season of indoor riding is looming (boo) so I'm just happy to get a couple rides back in our normal lesson format before that happens! 

52 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm glad you guys got your groove back!!!

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  2. You guys look great! Here's to confidence building jumping lessons!

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    Replies
    1. thanks! confidence is always a good thing!

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  3. I LOVE the sass pic! Never apologize for pictures! Really excellent work you guys did, I love the exercises

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    1. ha thanks! the bending lines were super fun! (and i kinda love the sass too lol)

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  4. Those pictures are awesome, don't apologize for the photo spam! Nice work!

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    1. thanks! it feels so good to be able to actually go out there and jump around like we know what we're doing lol

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  5. Replies
    1. isabel just made it so incredibly easy this ride!! :D

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  6. Woo! The videos are great. You two look amazing.

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  7. You guys look like you were having a blast!

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    1. this horse is SO FUN to ride, especially when she's in the zone like this :D

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  8. You two look great! Yay for photo spams, love seeing a happy horse doing a job that they obviously love!

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    1. thanks - isabel is so very expressive, she's pretty clear about what she likes and doesn't like. and very luckily for me, i think she digs this whole jumping thing :D

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  9. You guys rocked this lesson! I was immensely jealous not to be partaking as well since it looked SOOOO FUN!! and HEY you and Iz have bounced right back...It didnt even take that long!

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    1. nope, she's such a good girl, i think now that she's feeling stronger again she's feeling more unstoppable :D

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  10. Yay! This post makes me happy :)

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  11. Your release does looks really soft and following in these, and the mare looks like she's rewarding you for it! Definitely sounds like this was a great lesson for getting you guys back into the swing of things.

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    1. honestly the mare usually just ignores me when i'm too tight and still puts in the good efforts. she's just used to it by now haha. but somehow on this ride we got on exactly the same forward wavelength together and it was *awesome*!

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  12. You guys are cruising! I love how happy her expression looks in all of these. Jump jump mare is back.

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    1. she is BACK for sure! and pretty darn thrilled about it too, i think :D

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  13. Bring on the photo spam! I'm a picture-book kinda girl ;)
    I like her expressiveness - that tail flick is epic.

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    1. haha she is nothing if not expressive - esp with that tail!!

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  14. yayy!!!! nothing better than jumping again after a hiatus!

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    1. seriously! especially when we actually make it *over* the jumps, unlike last week lol

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  15. YAAAY!!! I'm sure the rest of it will all come back to you in no time as well! You both definitely looked solid to me!

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    1. thanks - it felt super solid, and so exciting to get that 'clicking' feeling again!!

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  16. Yay! I'm excited that you are getting back into things!

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  17. Look at you guys go! So happy to see you guys really clicking again.

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    1. thanks! i think isabel is happy to be back at it too :)

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  18. Replies
    1. flying ponies are *best* ponies :)

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  19. Woohoo what a fab sounding lesson. Some nerves after a long layoff like that are normal. Tbh it'd be worrying if there weren't some niggling thoughts

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    1. haha i think you might be right - that would definitely be unusual for me to not feel anything at all like that lol

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    2. It wasn't a personal attack, I just meant that if I'm two weeks out of the saddle I need to give myself a shake and remind myself not to be ridiculous. I imagine I'd have plenty nervous niggling in my stomach if I'd been forced to stay out of the saddle for a while

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    3. ohhh no no offense taken :) i happen to agree completely - and would feel a little strange if there wasn't some little flutter going on inside, since that's kinda my natural inclination anyway.

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  20. You look so effortless! What a fantastic pair

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    1. thanks - this ride really felt effortless, she was just right there for me !

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