We had lessons on Sunday this week to make up for the missed Tuesday lesson. The top hunter ring has now been opened and jumps have been set up so that’s where we rode. Everything was super simple, there are no boxes in the ring yet and no oxers. When we started everything was set as cross-rails.
G had us warm by doing a cross-rail course. He wanted us to focus on getting to the base of the fence. Right rein to dark green quarter line (towards home), to outside purple 4 stride, long approach to single diagonal, diagonal red 5 stride, to outside blue 6 stride. Tucker and I had no problems going around such a small course. With the jumps being so low there was no anxiety getting in the way of riding more accurately and to the base.
The next exercise (everything but the dark green and the light purple set to verticals) G had us do was to trot left rein to the dark green cross-rail, lead change if needed, break to trot, trot the first of the purple line and add a stride. We did this exercise twice. The second time through G had me advance my hands a couple strides before the trot jumps to get Tuck to carry himself to the jump instead of me holding.
Next G had us do the same thing but added the diagonal line with a halt at the end. Remember to drop the weight into the heel when halting and don’t drop down into the saddle. G then had us repeat this without the halt and add the outside 6 stride. We chipped on the in of the 6 stride so I was thinking add but got a few strides down the line and I realised that the 6 was still doable. G had us canter around to do the line one more time to clean it up. Hit a better spot in and almost ran out of room fitting in the 6 strides. G explained that it’s not just the length of the line that effects how it rides it’s also the footing. The footing in the top ring was still moist and packed, so they were moving on top instead of sinking into it.
Left rein to light green quarter line, to dark blue, rollback to red, to outside purple 4 stride line, long approach to single diagonal, to outside blue 6 stride. It all went pretty well except that we knocked down the rail of the in of the 6 stride. Going into that line I had asked Tucker to move up tin order to make the striding because we were moving up hill. Which is what I thought caused the rail. But G pointed out another bad habit that I’ve been trying to conquer. When I asked for the move up I gave up the contact, Tucker reached for the contact, found nothing, got flat and lowered his poll.
Right rein dark green quarter line, to outside purple 4 stride, long approach to diagonal single, to outside blue 6 stride, to diagonal pink 5 stride, to light green quarter line. Not a bed course. We were late with the lead after the purple line, he dragged the back just a little. G stressed the importance of creating the “pocket” for the lead change. He says that even a step late with the hind could mean the difference in pinning.
Takeaway: don’t forget to create the “pocket” for the lead change! Keep working on staying light in the seat. Footing affects how a line will ride.