Friday, August 22, 2014

lesson re-cap time!

We had our second ride with Dan Clasing last night. Two of the trainers at GE have ridden with him for a few years, so they get him to travel to us for semi-regular lessons. Fun!

His objective for us boils down to: use small circles with INSIDE BEND to get Isabel rounded and supple on the flat, and to create the right canter for jumping. I'm working too hard with my hands, and need to focus instead on pushing forward with my legs and using the bend to encourage her to give. 

He wants us to avoid straight lines for now - and almost exaggerate the inside bend at the walk and trot - to the point of actually leg yielding out, especially during all up and down transitions (big problem areas for us). 

For the jumping, we started by trotting a vertical in both directions, complete with placing poles (which are really distracting for me despite being intended to make things easier lol). 

We struggled to find the right pace, but Isabel put in some nice efforts. (Please excuse the picture quality here - these are all video stills.)

headless (and legless, apparently) rider

We maintained the idea of avoiding straight lines and working off the bend through jumping - he wanted my approaches to approximate tangents off a circle. 

After jumping the single a few times, he added an X  to make it a two stride line when trotting in. 

we luv Xs

The two strides were tricky for us - we actually did 2.5 our first time through... oops. The other horse in our lesson has a MUCH bigger stride than Isabel, so it was kinda a balancing act setting fences that worked for both of us. 

trotting in

So we just cantered in to the line for the rest of our efforts (still in two strides) while the other rider trotted in. Then the focus became getting the right canter early. I had a few moments of jumping in with too much, and then didn't have room for the two strides before the X, which was now an oxer...

omg no touchy the oxer!!!

This resulted in some jumps that can be best described as bone jarring... lol. Isabel gave that oxer a LOT of room!

one day i will learn to release

Dan wanted our canter to be super organized and tiny, with about a ten foot stride length. To achieve this, we did lots of small circles in the corner then maintained the bend in our approach to the jumps. 

she is vurry focused

We were more or less successful in our efforts. 

cantering in

I'm pleased with the lesson regarding strategies for improving Isabel's way of going and creating a consistent pace. But I still have a long way to go, particularly with my position. 

I didn't really get a lot of feedback on that element of my riding, but the videos make it pretty clear that I'm wayyyyy over-riding with my upper body and just need to quiet down and be still. Isabel is so sensitive that I suspect a quieter ride will have huge positive effects on her.  

Maybe some no-stirrup work will force me to sit down, stabilize my core, and lengthen my leg, instead of perching and balancing on my feet?? #foodforthought


  1. Sounds like you learned a lot!

  2. that's for sure! now the trick is putting those lessons into action - even when we are riding alone

  3. Sounds like you got a lot out of it, despite little direct feedback. Good self analysis too.

    1. thanks! for whatever reason, neither of my jump trainers say much to me about form/position. i might start asking for more feedback tho - esp since i keep getting jumped out of the tack lol

  4. Sounds like a great lesson! Your mare is so cute, and your ten foot stride video looked lovely, very patient and calm.

    As far as position goes, I have to say the thing that really helped me was riding bareback! Not sure if that's something you can do with your mare or not (tall withers come to mind...) but it will definitely help you to sink down and improve your seat if it's a possibility. Plus, it's fun and different. :)

    Your self analysis is fab too, definitely a really useful tool to have.

    1. Thanks! The bareback idea is great (my dressage trainer actually recommended it too lol) and Izzy has plenty of padding. I tried it once, but maybe I'll give it another shot.


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