Tuesday, April 4, 2017

just call him supaman

Ok. Jump lesson media dump time. And a brief update on Charlie's jumping:

a) He knows how to jump now
b) He kinda likes it!
c) He thinks he's obvi the best at it
d) (He's not.... yet)
e) I'm still basically just clinging along for the ride

like so.
Also can we take a quick moment to celebrate Charlie's first jumping lesson EVER with no knocked down rails?? BOOM. Achievement unlocked!!

charlie y u so go downhill tho bro?
Nevermind that "no knocked rails" /= successful jumping haha. At least not in schooling.

wheeeeeee!!!!
It's cool tho. Developmentally speaking, Charlie continues to chug right on along. He just happens to be doing so now at a higher rate of speed than previously. Ya know. Like a race horse might reasonably do.

i don't ever care tho. <3 this canter forever.
As a rider, I'm still very much struggling with finding that balance between "letting him figure it out" and "doing my goddamn job."

believe it or not, this picture is a SOLID WIN. fugly? yes. winning? absolutely. that stride needed to fit. and? he made it fit. two weeks ago this would have been a crash. this week? #clearedit. next time tho... maybe i should plan a little further ahead, m'kay emma?
Because since he's not particularly schooled yet to niceties like contact or half halts or, idk, just general balance, the whole "doing my job" thing is actually typically a full body effort. As in, put my butt in the saddle, engage my core, lift and open my shoulders, sink into my heels... Ya know. The hallmarks of balanced riding?

zomg go fast. or... ya know, sit up and put your ass in the saddle and try riding. just a thought!
But that's a pretty major seismic shift from my typical "just cruisin around in half seat!" mentality. And it means that when I should be engaging a full body half halt, I'm actually just standing up in the stirrups trying to make a pulley rein happen.

LOLZ FLY STRAIGHT SON!
also pictured: a strong left drift, a left-behind rider, and an honest horse. and. some kneeeeees!!
The cool thing about this horse tho - and the reason I keep calling him "easy" even when he's generally quite a physical ride - is that when I actually do what I'm supposed to do? When I actually put myself in the right place to communicate clearly to him? He responds in kind. Every time.

aaaaand made it out alive
It's honestly pretty nice. Because as you'll see in the video - I'm basically getting tossed all over the goddamn place while we're jumping around. Most of the time, tho, I can recover in the first stride or so upon landing and ask him to go straight again (since.... well. we drift left always). And he just does.

#acceptable
Mostly tho our biggest issue right now is finding a balance. Which I must repeat to myself again and again does NOT mean just pull on the horse constantly (bc that's my undying habit, apparently).

ditto the above
It does mean keeping him from getting so strung out, tho. This horse... again, you'll see in the video - he really doesn't look fast. He doesn't even necessarily look strong (the key there is to look for the gaping mouth - I promise that's him pulling on me and not me pulling on him, pinkie swear!).

But he is seriously covering ground.

e for effort. also just in case you thought maybe i fixed my winging toes problem, nope!
I edited it out of the video bc ain't nobody got time for that, but there was MUCH circling in this lesson in between jumps. Again - mostly bc my own reaction time was a bit too slow. It was taking me too long to do something about his building pace.

not coincidentally, my position is maybe the best over his most boring jumps
I need to channel my erstwhile hunter princess and use my corners to balance, instead of bombing around the turns and obliviously thinking, "Hm wow I guess we're going kinda fast!"

as in.... not the above lol
Altho there's a weird sick twist to our crazy unbalanced motorcycle turns: last week Charlie did a fully auto (tho definitely late behind) L to R change. And this week did the same, but this time R to L. Booooom.

we'll take it tho!
I've never had a horse with auto changes before ever (Izzy had changes but not auto and I fail at coordination so I never even bothered trying). My inner nascent dressage rider is very wary of 'auto changes,' but dammit they are useful in jumping haha.

 
Anyway - whatever the case, watch the video above. It's a good one. I mean, it's not a demonstration of excellent technique by either horse or rider, but it's entertaining. And honestly I'm pretty freaking happy with how the horse is going.

#harmony
There are things to fix in my own ride but I continue to be thrilled that he's progressing so quickly despite me - and still fully believe that he's going to be ready for bigger and badder jumps WAY before me lol (considering the 2'3 of some of these jumps absolutely met my current mental capacity, le sigh).

Do you ever get relieved when the horse can succeed despite your errors? Or when the horse feels more confident than you? I know many of you out there ride green horses and have been very responsible for instilling confidence in your mounts - but maybe there are some of you who also have your own confidence built up by the horse instead of vice versa? Or maybe it's a constant back and forth of building each other up?

45 comments:

  1. You guys are making awesome progress!!

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    1. thanks! he is legitimately so fun to ride right now!

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  2. Title has "whip/nae-nae just call me superman" stuck in my head now 😜
    So great to hear that you guys are learning so much together and the building blocks are falling into place. Look how far you've come in a few short months, I am so excited to see how you guysbprogress over spring/summer. You'll be unrecognisable come autumn/winter πŸ‘

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    1. haha yas he's probably got that song stuck in his head too! and thanks, i'm super excited to see how he continues to develop too!

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  3. Look at him omg. Go Charlie!

    Grif loves jumping SO much that he makes up for my errors a LOT. I'm really grateful for it, but like you said about Charlie, when rider gets it right, hot damn if the horse doesn't do perfect. Makes me really try harder to be better because I want Griffin to be the best and he can't do it all on his own, I've gotta help. So we're a little back and forth with the confidence, he helps me build mine enough to ride better and my better riding encourages him to give me his all.

    And totally feel you on the mental thing at 2'3". I think our jumps are set at about that right now. It always looks daunting to me at first, but when I stand the horse beside it and see how low it hits him and note how much effort it doesn't actually take him to pop over it, I calm down. Proportionally, that height to his size isn't much. Something about that logic makes my fretting mind chill the F down and I can do the damn thing. Charlie's got many inches on Grif so far as height, so that means once he has the mechanics of jumping down, more height won't be that much harder for him at all ;-) Math logic? Eh? Kinda? lol

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    1. man Grif is such a star - i bet he and Charlie are very similar in some respects. and yea the cool thing about this height is that Charlie is totally bored by it already even tho he really only just moved up to it. it's too easy for him lol, he's a bit too casual about it all! oh well. i need the mileage at this level as much (or more) than he does so we'll take it slow...

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  4. Oh yes, the ultimate goal is that my horse should jump anything I point him at even if number drinking tea up there. Sounds like Charlie is making leaps and bounds ;).

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    1. leaps and bounds quite literally!! :D

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  5. Can I just say that I am super in love with Charlie's knees and luscious tail? Omg.

    Pig gave me confidence over fences. He's always confident in his job there. In dressage... eh. I struggle constantly to keep his confidence. He's slow to develop and it takes constant vigilance from me to ensure I don't take us backwards. Oh the trials of an amateur in a sensitive horse! Haha. Learning lots, though.

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    1. just sayin.... but i miiiiiiight have bought him for his awesome hair haha ;P

      and i definitely feel you on how the horse's confidence in flatwork and dressage is totally different. charlie can be way more defensive and tense about that too (even at our most basic of levels). vigilance indeed.

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  6. I really like this horse! He's sooooo cool!

    I learnt lots and gained lots of confidence from my first horse when he was younger, but I was younger and crazier too so I don't know if it was more like a constant back and forth? Vallu is only as confident as I am, so when I get scared he freaks out so he's the one ride where I have to force myself to be confident no matter what!

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    1. thanks!!! i <3 him too :D

      that makes total sense about Vallu too - i've ridden horses like that and it's really a total mental game to be strong for the horse so the horse can be strong for you.

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  7. CHARLIE DOIN' THE JOMPS! OMG. His enthusiasm is so fantastic! You have yourself an amazing horse there. It DEFINITELY helps to have a horse you know is confident and will Do The Thing! While Dino is rarely that way that for me over fences, he absolutely is on the trail. I can be wigging out about something and just drop the reins and he just... does the thing. Which then makes me feel invincible, which makes him feel the same, and on and on. GO CHARLIE GO!

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    1. omg his enthusiasm warms my cold dark little heart haha. and yea i definitely want charlie to be like Dino in that respect of just doing the thing no matter what, even when i'm freakin out. he's not totally confirmed on that trails yet, but getting closer with every outing!

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  8. Nice! I've been waiting for these pictures. I watched your video and it's funny how we always think they're going a lot faster but he looks quite calm and chill throughout the course. I love how he doesn't have a problem with taking the gap or adding in a stride - you have an adjustable horse already and that's a pretty awesome thing too. Confidence with jumping is always tough. Maybe riding a lesson horse for a few jumping lessons would help you gain back your confidence and also convince you that you DO know what you're doing? He's progressing along really nicely though - you both should be very proud!

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    1. well - that's the thing with the video: as i wrote above, he doesn't *look* fast or strong, but he is, in fact, objectively speaking, going too fast. not like "omg it's too fast too scary" but as "this green inexperienced horse has no business racing around over jumps." did you hear my trainer yelling at me constantly to "sit down on him and slow down"?? lol... for the purposes of his education, he does not need to be taking the gap or taking flyers, he needs to balance and get to the base. re: your advice on my confidence, it has nothing to do with the horse (whether "the horse" is charlie, izzy, gogo, noel, casanova, lion, remmy, krimpet, shen, bali, or any of the others i've written about) and everything to do with why this blog is called "fraidy cat eventing" haha

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  9. Wow, that boy has got a massive stride!
    It's definitely a back and forth thing for me with confidence. I will give 110% to be brave for my horse but when the wheels fall off and the horse just opts for abandon ship rather than showing try, then I lose all my confidence. But if things go wrong and my horse still feels mentally with me and trying, that tends to boost my confidence and I can do the thing. I guess I might be too sensitive to that abandon ship feeling and fall apart at first sight of it, but I am working on it!

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    1. omg MASSIVE, right?? it's crazy....

      that 'abandon ship' feeling is SO HARD too, ugh. i hate the feeling of a horse that's quitting, it's super unnerving. oddly enough, when things go really sideways for me and start falling apart, my nerves often disappear to be replaced by a "well i guess we gotta get this shit done now" attitude, which is nice and all.... but... i still prefer when things *don't* go sideways, thanksverymuch lol

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  10. When your horse can do the job despite rider errors, the horse knows his job and understands how to do it. #WINNING! You WANT your horse to be able to do his job in spite of you, so congrats on teaching him that! He looks like he is really enjoying himself, he looks like he is really forward and ground covering! o.O Congrats!

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    1. agreed 100%. that's one of the things i love about trainer P - i've watched her get a couple TBs started over fences (including my friends' horses Wick and Birdie) and she has the same effect on all of them. she wants the horse thinking for itself, making good safe decisions, and able to get itself out of trouble when necessary. bc let's be real, we as riders WILL make mistakes. i'm gonna screw up. i'm gonna pull or take my leg off or whatever. but hopefully the horse can just keep on doin his thing anyway!

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  11. WOW he looks so much better already!!! lol now instead of tripping hes in the "OMG I FLING MYSELF TO THE SKY" phase of learning how to jump

    looks like he steers well tho!!

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    1. honestly he hasn't tripped in such a way that i thought we might imminently faceplantdart through the earth's crust in a long time! (tho we still trip behind occasionally). it's promising!

      but yea the steering is actually pretty good EXCEPT the left drift. that's been a pretty consistent problem, stemming from those damn uneven shoulders...

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  12. Jumping a green horse is hard enough and then throw in some PTSD and it gets extra complicated.

    Charlie is doing so well! He is adorable as always :)

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    1. ha i'm not sure i'd call it "ptsd" - i've never really had any particularly traumatic experiences except for plain old getting older lol. the confidence just is what it is, and is what it will be.

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  13. He's going to be super nice. I'm biased towards my discipline of course, but it might be nice to cross train hunters a little bit as y'all learn this process. It will catch you less off guard with the longer spots (Charlie seems to love finding the gap right now!) and hunter trainers are AMAZING at straightness and pace.

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    1. yep we're definitely gonna play in the hunter ring - and i'm trying to channel my previous hunter training in riding more for pace and putting together a cleaner steadier picture, bc i think charlie will absolutely benefit from that. i'm not likely to actually lesson with a hunter trainer tho bc i'm fairly dyed in the wool for my eventing jump trainers haha, but definitely agree that the cross training will be beneficial for both of us.

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    1. eeeeee yes he loves the jumpies!!! :D

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  15. I think it's a back and forth confidence-wise, for most pairs in the adult ammy world. Sometimes we strike gold and find the horse with the always-confidence-giving type personality, but more often than not I think the back and forth way is just more common.

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    1. yea i tend to think you're right. that's definitely how i've felt over the past few years! and charlie's been fantastic to work with, but i'll do both of us a disservice if i just expect him to always be the water carrier

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  16. He's so gung ho, I've loved him since your first post!

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  17. The giant is definitely figuring things out!

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    1. definitely!! he's getting a little big for his britches lol

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  18. Talk to me about corners and using them for balance! I've been motoring around them and in some cases just ignoring them while lessoning on Aria. I've forgotten how to really dig into a corner lol

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    1. i mean, it's basically using the turn and bend to help balance and slow down the horse instead of just blasting around. if the corner itself is insufficient for these purposes, we should turn for a small circle to continue using the bend to rebalance.

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    2. Yeah...I just have to ask more of Aria and not accept the rodeo we are getting. :)

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  19. I love that moment when it all clicks for them!! So much more fun from there on out. :-)

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  20. When he uses himself he is quite cute!

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  21. CUUUTE! I especially like the part where you can hear your coach telling you to sit down on him, and he totally comes back to a reasonable balance around the corner. Learning ftw!

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  22. SO cool to watch him transform with you!

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