I’m about to get a little braggy.
We rocked our lesson last night! I rode forward, I kept my eyes up (mostly), I stayed connected and kept his poll elevated, and we made the strides.
I’m still feeling slightly nervous about things (mostly height) but nowhere near the level of the pre-caffeine cut. I still grumble to coach G at the start of the lesson about anxiety/fear but it now feels mostly like habit and not for real serious issues. So for now caffeine is staying cut (at least until after we show on Sunday).
I’ve been having some issues with Tucker’s striding the last few weeks. Every now and then it feels like he’s taking a short step in the front. On Tuesday I had G look at Tuck’s shoes because it looked like one was pushing into his frog. He said that it looked ok but he’d have the farrier take a look on Thursday even though he’s not due for another 3 weeks. Turns out he needed to go up a size. My poor boy was squeezed into shoes too small for his dinner plates.
Fingers crossed this sorts the problems out. Last night he did feel extra forward and floaty. So yay!
All the jumps were set at 2’6″. We’re showing at 2’6″ on Sunday so it was time to put the big girl panties on. Ugh! G said he’d put his big girl panties on too. I do enjoy his humour, it has a nice relaxing effect.
Coach G had us start off by cantering the quarter line on a left rein and then on a right rein. The first two times through I kept taking Tuck to the base. But not a good to the base, a knock a rail hit the boxes distance. Not good. So I started riding him more forward and up into my hand. Raise the eye 3 strides out. Problem solved.
We moved on to a mini four jump course. G had us go back to what we had been working on last week with keeping them guessing/coming back to you. Walk or in my case trot (because coming back isn’t the problem for us) after the singles and circle in the middle of the line.
G critique: create the pocket to the left after the quarter line for the right lead change. Good job with connection and keeping his poll up.
Next we moved on to jumping full courses without any walk/trot or circles in between. The first time through the six stride I had Tuck going so forward we almost put in five strides. Oops!!! Big whoa for the four stride and we were back on track. After that the courses all went well.
Except the bending line. G wanted us to put in five strides. I was so concerned about getting Tuck to turn in the tight space I turned to quick and put in four strides. Oops again! G had us go back and fix it. Stay quiet, Jump the outside of the in, hold out a touch longer. We just barely squeezed it in, but we did it. G assured me that if we had a bending line in the show it would be set a touch longer so not to worry.
I can’t even describe how good I feel after the lesson. Tucker felt so good and forward and rideable. Fingers crossed this carries through to the show.
Takeaway: Keep connected, keep his poll elevated. Don’t forget to create the pocket for the lead change. Continue to raise the eye and go forward. Don’t look for a distance to early especially on the long approaches.