Tuesday, December 9, 2014

jumping lesson: no hands required!

The increasingly variable weather means more horses are staying indoors overnight, and my Saturday morning barn chores are outgrowing the 2 hours I've dedicated to them. 

I'm hoping that my friend will be game to help out when she starts coming to OF with me... but in the meantime I've had to scramble to get to our lesson on time. At least I can usually groom Izzy on Friday nights and turn her out in her sheet so she just needs a dusting in the morning. 

'uh, what is you?' - isabel

Anyways, this Saturday had the added bonus of gray, wet, dreary weather, tho the rain held off enough for us to only get moderately damp during our lesson outside. It amazes me how much better the footing is at OF compared to Isabel's barn. Our ring is TRASHED, and OF just has a few puddles here and there. Not fair :( (except, again, this is why I go *there* for lessons...)

The lesson was fairly low key, tho. Isabel was pretty quiet, and flatted nice-n-easy. Not spectacular, but quite consistent. P had to remind me to keep it active tho, and not just soften to the point of falling asleep at the wheel (boy oh boy do I love wavering wildly between extremes lol). 


middle element of the grid

This same idea carried over to jumping too. We've been on a grid kick lately, which I LOVE, and P has been setting up one-stride lines allll over the place lol. This is perfectly fine and all, and Isabel was super quiet - oh wait, actually, too quiet. Not even trying to make any adjustments in the line to fix herself if the distance or line was off. 

We were coming out of the corners and kinda dying a little bit (I suspect that Isabel was a touch too focused on the puddles in the corners). So P wanted me to wake her up a bit. BUT - the one stride lines are set 18' apart, so straight up speed was NOT the answer - we needed a forward, balanced canter with Isabel using her hind end instead of just dragging herself along. 

After a couple squished strides in the triple grid (pretty sure Isabel's nose reached the actual base of the middle element - like 'oh shit, that jump is right there'), she finally kicked into gear and put in some proper effort. 


the chute! (the line of standards and colorful poles parallel to the fence)

We did the three element grid a few times in each direction at various heights before moving on to the final exercise: hands-free jumping down the chute!! 


look ma! no hands!!

We trotted in to a two-stride line, totally hands free (with a knot in the reins). The jumps were low low low, since the focus was on us. 

I mostly felt surprisingly ok going through - surprising bc I tend to balance on my hands (terrible habit, I know), so I wasn't really sure how it would go. And of course Izzy was happy to be left to her own devices. 


i'm flying, jack!

We did have a few derp moments tho: mainly flapping my wings down the line like some kind of crazed chicken, and almost running over P (and her long suffering pooch) after our final run through since she was taking pictures right smack in the middle of our path and I didn't, ya know, have any reins. I'm sure my expression is pretty priceless in those pics lol. 

The video unfortunately cuts off jusssst before the near impact... but it includes the last of our trips down the grid (where we finally make nice work of it) and our trips down the chute. Enjoy the wing flappage! 

26 comments:

  1. You guys look fab in the hands free stills, your lessons always sound so enlightening & fun. *clap*

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    1. thanks! we always have a good time - P has a nice way of mixing up the challenges - one week it's extra height, another week it's no hands... lots of fun!

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  2. No hands is doing faaaabulous things for your jumping position!

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    1. thanks - that's the hope!! i also jacked up my stirrups for jumping and it's really helping

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  3. Now that looks like so much fun! Great position!

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    1. it WAS a lot of fun - and is probably something i'll try to recreate at home :)

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  4. Replies
    1. thanks! i think taking my hands out of the equation helped move my butt backwards and keep me better balanced over my lower leg, rather than pulling myself up with the mane...

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  5. I'm so attached to my reins, this would probably be a really good exercise for me! you two are looking great!

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    1. thanks! i'm equally attached to my reins (and the mane!). not sure i'd fare very well over bigger jumps yet, but this was a good starting point!

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  6. Replies
    1. thanks - isabel makes it pretty easy sometimes :)

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  7. Ah I've wanted to work on this myself lately! Maggie had picked up up the habit of totally appeasing full tilt toward any jump in her path though, which makes me nervous about letting my reins go. Probably need to take a step back and work on that balanced canter and rythm first! You look great!

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    1. thanks - we've definitely been working on the canter, which helps... and have also been incorporating more placing poles at the fence (this exercise definitely relied on them). i personally kinda hate placing poles bc they melt my poor little brain - but they really help isabel get to the fence in a nice way, so maybe that would help Maggie too?

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  8. Nice work!! It's amazing how naturally (and correctly) the body moves when we don't rely on the usual crutches to hold things together haha Dropping stirrups for me at all gaits is a good "reset" button when I need to check my position on the flat

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    1. thanks! and yea dropping stirrups is definitely a solid exercise too - tho i'm super guilty of avoiding doing it unless i'm told to by a trainer lol...

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  9. Damn! You go girl! You guys are doing great :)

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    1. thanks! she's such a good little ponykins :)

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  10. You have the most fun lessons!! That is so awesome!

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    1. they are very fun! can't have our nose the grindstone 24/7 lol... i also love that P mixes it up between lessons for isabel and lessons for me

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  11. Lookin' good!! I could really, really, really benefit from jumping hands free

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    1. thanks! it was easier than i thought it would be - and definitely helped secure my lower legs more

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  12. You guys look fantastic!! No hands!! Wow! It must feel like you're flying!!

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    1. it felt pretty cool (except for almost turning the dog into road kill...) :)

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