Saturday, September 13, 2014

jump school at dusk

I'm so super sad that it gets dark so early (and earlier every night... sunset is at 7:20 now)... but at least the barn is SO pretty at dusk. 

Thursday night I had a straight forward plan: power through the flat work, aiming for 'correct' and connected (so our dressage trainer wouldn't be too disappointed) but not picking fights or creating tension. The objective was function over perfection. Because: I wanted to JUMP. And jump *well*. (term is relative) 

Our recent jumping attempts, following the 'freely forward' break through two weeks ago, have been less than stellar - lots of rushing and missed distances. And we've mostly been dressaging (or trail riding) ever since. 

But, as previously mentioned, we have a big weekend planned, and then shows the next two weekends. So I wanted a positive jump experience, then day off for princess, then three big lessons in three days, followed by another day or two off. 

Below are gratuitous blurry stills from the video at the bottom. And guess what y'all - not only have I figured out how to load videos to youtube - I also learned how to combine little clips into *one* movie!!! (*pats self on back). Does that make me a legit blogger now?? lol



Right off the bat I wasn't sure the plan would work. There's a new pony in the field next to Isabel (that also faces the arena) and he was LOSING HIS MIND. Screaming and trotting around like a nut. And apparently a lesson horse walking past with her rider (who had the foresight to dismount) had gotten all verklempt and got loose for a nice full-speed gallop around the property. RIP bridle. 

Plus Iz is in season and was cavorting with a known trouble-maker mare when I went to go bring her in... 


But I just kept my energy steady and treated Isabel like I expected her to be good. (peppermints help lol)

(if you're wondering why variations of this same pic keep showing up, it's bc the judge's booth is right next to this fence and that's where everyone hangs out)

And she was good. Very good. We groomed / tacked super fast and made it to the ring by 7. I adjusted fence heights and set up a skinny on the diagonal, then hopped on and got to work. 


We warmed up quickly, but well. Turns out that Isabel appreciates it when I don't pick pick pick at her. No head flinging, no sass. Not the best work either, but she was willing and relaxed. 


We also had a peanut gallery during the ride. A bunch of lesson students who either lease or have earned free rides from helping out had just finished their rides, and stuck around to spectate. Naturally I put them to work by having them shoot videos and jump crew. 



I tried to make it worth their while tho - stopping by between courses to ask them what they thought of my efforts. If we missed a distance, I asked them how they would fix it. At first they were a little hesitant (bc they are actually pretty respectful kids), but then got into it like, "hm maybe more leg?" Yep - always an excellent idea. "Ooh, and maybe try sitting back a bit?" Also great advice. I also quizzed them on how many strides I got in the lines - so you can hear them trying to count in the video lol. 

The jumps were great. There were missed distances and squirrely approaches, and we pulled out of the line a few times because I didn't like the in jump (it was a pretty tight 3). Plus we knocked a rail once.... But it was all pilot error - honestly my favorite kind of error (frustrating, but less frustrating than when you do everything right and still don't get the result). 

Ultimately, we got the positive, relaxed experience I was aiming for, and I actually managed to let Isabel move up to some of the fences :)


my movie debut. the oscar nominations should start rolling in any day


Fingers crossed that the good momentum carries us through xc schooling! 

10 comments:

  1. Yay for a good jump school!!

    The running joke at my barn is that my answer for everything is more leg. Horse isn't getting in the bit? More leg! Horse stopped at a fence? More leg! Horse went lame? More leg!

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    1. Thanks! And that's funny about the running joke- esp bc it's so true! More leg is almost never wrong :)

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  2. Sunset is definitely getting earlier - but I agree, it's a nice time to be at the barn. Looks like you had a good ride!

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    1. thanks, yea we had fun! but the earlier sunset means that we will be pretty much limited to the arena on weeknights in short order :(

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  3. I love your cheering squad! :) And you two look great!

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    1. thanks! yea those kids are fun. i kinda like having lots of kids hanging around the barn trying to soak up as much as possible - since that's exactly how i was too :)

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  4. I, too, am very sad about the sunset. I still expect the sun to not set until at least 9pm and keep getting stuck out on hacks in the pitch black. Strangely my horse seems to enjoy this. Anyway, you guys look absolutely super, love love love the great rhythm you had going! She is cute as a button and you ride her well. :)

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    1. thanks so much! that rhythm took a long time to develop - so i'm just so thrilled with how easy she can make it look now. and getting caught out in the dark on hacks is no fun - that's when the monsters come out (or at least, that's what isabel tells me)

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  5. Am all caught up on your blog - Yay!
    Having minions is awesome ... I needs to find me some i think ;-)

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    1. yay - thanks for reading! yes minions really is the best. they're usually pretty easy to please too - toss 'em a horse or two to groom and they'll do just about anything else for you :)

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