Tuesday lessons didn’t happen this week due to rain. We have an indoor arena but our boarder lessons get double booked with school lessons. The school lessons take priority and get to use the arena. Usually if the rain isn’t too bad we ride anyway but this year has been shit for weather. It wasn’t just rain this week, we’ve had hail and snow in some areas. Spring where are you?!?!
Thursday night lesson was again in the main hunter ring with the same course as last week. The only difference was that the jumps had all been changed to natural hunter jumps (but I’ll continue to colour them to make it easier to understand courses) and the boxes have now been put out. So the lesson was all about getting used to boxes again, avoiding the big mud puddle in the corner and continuing to find the outdoor striding.
The first exercise was no problem for us. Canter in right rein to the blue oxer, canter back around jump the first of the 5 stride, circle around the jump on the quarter line, then jump the blue oxer again.
First course, quarter line away from home, to the first of the outside 4 stride (jumped on an angle towards the rail to avoid jumping the out due to the huge puddle about a stride after it), to long approach to single diagonal, to the outside 5 stride and finishing with the diagonal 5 stride. We had a really good first fence and then G yelled at us to stop. He explained that he wanted us to use more space. We’re still thinking small inside space and we now need to start using all the space we have available to us. Stop cutting corners and stop advancing your eye to fast! Create a “pocket” for the lead change (whether you need to or not). To help with this G told us to stare over our horses outside ear instead of straight ahead. We started again and had another good first jump, created the pocket and got the lead change. Keep looking over the outside ear for the second jump. Long approach to the single oxer threw me off a little and I tried to find the spot too soon which resulted in a bit of a push-pull ride. Outside 5 stride was quite hairy, I fought with myself the whole way down the line to push for the 5 and kind of gave up on the last two strides because I didn’t think we were going to make it. We made it in 5 but the out was pretty gappy. I rode the diagonal 5 stride more aggressively, made the 5 but it was still gappy.
Second course, right to the first of the outside 5 stride, rollback to the green oxer, to the short approach single diagonal, inside turn to the purple vertical, outside 5 and then diagonal 5. It didn’t go to bad. We hit a bit of a tight spot to the green oxer after the rollback, G said I should have held out a bit longer before turning to it. Easy enough to fix. We chipped at the purple vertical and the lines were still causing me problems.
To try and fix the problems that I was having with the lines G had us do one more exercise. Right rein canter inside track to the purple diagonal, break to trot, trot into the 5 stride and add a stride. Then do it again staying at the canter for the 5 strides. He explained that this would hopefully help me figure out where my canter was. Nailed the purple, trotted in and added 2 strides (crap!). He had us do the trot one more time and I was able to get the 6 strides. Cantered in and got the 5 strides. Why does it have to be so difficult?
Takeaway: Use all the space, look over the outside ear, be more decisive, don’t throw away the contact to move up.