I feel kind blah about last night’s lesson. I shouldn’t. It went really well. I’m not sure whether it’s just my frame of mind in regards to riding or if it’s because we really didn’t do anything to work on our major issue (making the lines).
It was so cold last night (6º) which means I had a nice forward horse. Tuck loves the cooler weather.
Last night lesson was focused on getting the horses to pay attention to the rider instead of anticipating what’s next. G had us ‘flip’ the arena (see the diagram – purple-blue was on a right rein, green was on a left rein). He asked us to canter the diagonal as if changing direction but instead turn the opposite way. He stressed that we needed to keep them straight going across the diagonal not bent in the direction we intended to turn in order to keep them guessing. We did the exercise in both directions and finished each by actually changing direction and asking for the lead change.
The lead change from left to right as usual gave me problem so G had me fix it. The first time through I let Tuck go too far to the right before asking for the change, which collapsed the shoulder. The second time through I created the “pocket”, keeping the shoulder over and allowing the lead to flow forward.
From there we moved on to jumping single fences from different approaches and then breaking to a walk. We started on the left rein jumping the light blue vertical. I’ve been having difficulty the last few weeks seeing the distance. I think the problem stems from dropping my eye. I made an extra effort to keep my eye up which seemed to help.
G had us change rein and do the same thing over the light purple vertical. Quarter line approach. No problem. Outside approach. No problem. Tighter roll back type approach. A little sloppy. Repeat with better rhythm. No problem.
Right rein to Quarter line, walk, left turn, canter, outside approach to light blue, walk, right turn, canter, outside approach to dark blue. For the most part this went ok. But that damn right lead. G says it’s because I need to shape him better and not let go of the right rein while asking. The result was that we jumped the dark blue on a left lead instead of right. Ugh!
Right rein to quarter line, walk, circle left, canter, jump the blue 6 stride line in 7 (or 8), walk, canter, long approach to diagonal oxer. For the most part this went ok too. Except I can’t figure out where I am in the lines or make a decision. I kinda did nothing and ended up putting in a 71/2. G had me go back and clean up the line. We jumped in super quiet and put in 8 strides. We finished with that.
It was good. I should have been happy. I saw most of the distances to the single fences (which I’m really happy about). We accomplished the major task of the lesson (also really happy about that). But we added two strides to the line (would probably have been happier if it was just the one stride added). I get that this was keeping to the theme of the lesson. To not allow the horse to anticipate and to come back when asked. But I feel like this is regression. I’m already having trouble riding forward to make the striding. And it’s giving me anxiety. Just blah!
Takeaway: Eyes up. Don’t drop the right rein when trying to pick up the right lead canter. Rhythm is your friend. Don’t fall in to get the lead change, hold out.