Tuesday, July 28, 2020

holding my line

I wrote last week about finally getting some rain after a few weeks of drought-like conditions. AND -- we got even more after that!! Yessssss, large horses on small feet everywhere rejoice!!

just charlie being cute
Which worked out fairly perfectly for getting in another jump lesson. Bc ya know... That's basically where we're at this summer, stalking the weather forecast to plan our weekly riding schedule lol.

charlie and a goose!!
The lesson went fairly well, too. Trainer K even tried to grab some video for us, tho.... considering we kept knocking down rails on jumps that were repeated in courses, it meant the footage didn't quite work out. Still got enough for some screen grabs tho! It's not much, but I'll take it.

US show jumper Rich Fellers' approach to flatwork.
source: Noelle Floyd youtube channel
In terms of flatwork, I'm continuing focusing on how we go as it relates to being successful in jumping courses. Right now, as far as I can tell, our biggest regression since quarantine is in the "straightness" department.

Which... obviously also has some serious implications in jumping haha. Like when we jumped through the triple a couple times from each direction -- laying down two completely distinct tracks equally distant from center haha, womp.

lol @ charlie's 'smile'.......
So... Yea. Probably need to work on that some more too. I also think addressing our straightness will help Charlie jump in a better form -- which should also theoretically make it a little easier for him to jump more cleanly.

see the jomp!!
Biggest takeaway from the lesson tho, other than straightness (and straightness in turns too, we were pretty bulge-y in places...) related to me sorta 'giving up' at times.

Specifically -- Charlie became very forward (which I like!!) but instead of keeping his hind end up under him even as he went forward, I sorta just surrendered to it and let him drag me along. This showed up especially in the bending lines we did -- 3 and 4 stride lines off both leads.

be the jomp!!
Somewhat amazingly, the right bending lines went wayyyy worse for us than the left bending lines, even tho they were the same lines just ridden opposite directions haha. I would have expected the left to be harder bc of our drift and lack of straightness, so this was maybe a good wake-up call.

Bc what was happening was that we'd get to the in jump in a little bit of disarray since Charlie was kinda running on his forehand, but then we'd land in a heap and not be able to make the turns effectively.

me thinks we need to tighten up and improve straightness with some gymnastics again....
After messing up two courses in a row in this way, I managed to sit down and bring Charlie's hind end back up underneath him again. Tho, actually, it was really interesting the feeling in the connection at that moment bc I still felt like I could have a softer contact and Charlie still made the adjustment. That's definitely a feeling I need to remember...

And anyway, when I rode the canter more appropriately, go figure, Charlie jumped much better and had way more options when it came to getting to the fence from different distances or approaches.

gotta love his enthusiasm tho!
On one hand the lesson was kinda annoying bc it followed what seems to be an all-too-predictable pattern: warm up was amazing, almost like we should have just finished with that (fwiw, warm up was a twisty turny cycle through a couple single verticals and oxers, and Charlie turned and burned!!). But... No, bc it's a lesson and we want to do the actual exercises. 

But then the exercises ended up exposing quite a few weaknesses, which meant maybe more repetitions than I want in my head. BUT.... Isn't that actually kinda the whole point of the lesson anyway? Get into a rhythm, then tackle a challenge. Figure out the weak spots, then address them, and smooth it out.

we luv left
Emotionally haha, sometimes I wish I could do the beginning and end of that cycle -- skipping the whole "exposing the weaknesses" bit in the middle. But then, would we ever really learn?

For me, the feeling I need to remember was how well Charlie came back to me when I asked, and how it actually wasn't nearly as "high volume" an ask as I expected. Maybe I'm still kinda expecting him to pull like a freight train... But he really just isn't. Like he still gets strong and forward (and hopefully always will!) but his education means that he "hears" me make a quieter request now.

So my biggest takeaway is to make sure that I make that request, that I react and recover quickly, instead of letting myself get pulled out of position and then just kinda surrendering to it. Bc it turns out, Charlie will do it haha. Not the worst lesson to learn, honestly!



14 comments:

  1. I know for me personally, recovering from the weakness part of the lesson really depends on how quickly my brain cells can fire and react. So if I'm having an off kilter day anywhere else in my life it will probably show up in my reaction speed in jumping.

    I'm glad it rained for you guys! Hope it continues to keep the ground less than hard!

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    1. dude the rain is such a difference maker, i'm so relieved it finally arrived! looks like we might even get more over the next couple weeks too

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  2. Remember a feeling is so hard. I have the same issue with Mo, I am so excited he is forward, that I let him run around strung out and things are crap. When I remember to sit up and package him, I immediately feel the difference and remember "oh yeah, this is correct" but I'm not as good at recognizing it was bad, until I feel the good. But the good is so obviously good, that if I have to question if I'm correct then I am probably not.

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    1. omg yes - that's exactly it haha. like.... i'm getting better at feeling when things aren't quite there, but that's definitely where the issue is. ooh, and also DOING SOMETHING about it when it's not quite right lol... details details...

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  3. Sounds like it was a great lesson, even though there were some struggles! One of the things I love about T is she always asks if I want to do anything again. Usually, I am satisfied and want to remember the feeling of whatever we just did, so we don't drill. The super cool part that I'm still getting used to is that my body seems to retain that correct/good feeling for the next time!

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    1. definitely! that's one of my favorite things about charlie too -- he can definitely tell when something has gone well vs when it hasn't, and that helps him remember for his own self next time too.

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  4. Glad the rain is coming and the ground is getting softer up there. We had a little last nigh and now the grass no longer crunches under foot. There is always a point in a lesson where I can feel my adrenaline has run out and I'm done. I'm happy with what we did and just want to quit there so nothing bad happens. Unfortunately this rarely coincides with the moment my trainer thinks we are done.

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    1. lol yea i definitely feel ya there. i'm *notorious* for wanting to "quite while we're ahead" except... actually i tend to be a little premature about it lol.... which ya know, is fine when we're schooling on our own. but i guess every now and then we've got to push a limit to grow, or something like that LOL

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  5. My last jump lesson with June I felt like what was being asked of me was impossible, but then I remembered that I would get the "yes" feeling for a stride or two. I knew I just had to work on that feeling and it would become more manageable to work through the weakness. It's so hard, but so worth it IMO. I'm starting to really love bringing up a greenie!

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    1. oh man, totally. like, on one hand i kinda love it when everything just clicks and is smooth and flawless or whatever but... turns out that doesn't really happen all that often haha. in a weird way, it's sometimes more reassuring to know that we can deal with a little imperfection and work through it!

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  6. It's always kind of annoying when the weaknesses start waving at you... but such a great feeling when you work through them! Sounds like a great lesson!

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    1. ha agreed... i get esp annoyed when i make the same mistakes repeatedly. but ya know... that's learning i guess haha and it's definitely nice to get a nice concrete "aha!" moment when we find the solution

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  7. I struggle with holding a one too. It’s easy to fall into the trap of it being ‘good enough ‘ and then having ‘oh shit’ moments. 😁 but yay for enthusiastic horses

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    1. lol it's like i keep stubbornly believing that once we can ride "well," a flip will switch and then we'll just stay there. apparently, tho, riding is hard. who knew!!

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