Lesson Night – Straightness and Contact

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts this week, I was sick last week. So no lessons last week. I don’t jump unless I’m in a lesson. So no jumping since the show. This made for an interesting time getting back into the swing of things.IMG_6180

Tuesday night:

Coach G had us start off with cantering a circle on the inside track. He had us change up our canter and then S turn for a lead change. The first change of rein we did, I allowed Tuck to trot. Fail! The second lead change I didn’t create any sort of shape and missed the lead. Fail! I wanted to scream. We had beautiful lead changes on the weekend.

From there G had us warm up OF by doing a cloverleaf exercise. Left rein to quarter line vertical, circle right, right rein same quarter line vertical, circle left, repeat. It’s kinda confusing if you’ve never done it. See the diagram hopefully that makes it easier to understand.Clover

We were behind the pace and my eye was off. I couldn’t see a distance to save my life. Again I failed to create the pocket/shape and missed the lead going left to right. G called out corrections. I still couldn’t see a distance to save my life but the lead change issue was fixed.

Course 1: Left rein to quarter line away from home, outside 5 stride, long approach to diagonal oxer, outside 6 stride, to diagonal 4 stride.

We crawled to the first fence and climbed over it. I knew I had to put my leg on and get him going forward to make the striding. The 5 stride was good. And then I got lost, I couldn’t figure out where my canter was, was I on it above or below. I tried for a waiting distance to the diagonal vertical but I couldn’t see a thing. I should have moved up for the fence but we went past the distance and ended up under it with a chip stride. UGLY! The rest of the course was ok. The lines seemed to give me the least difficulty for once.

G explained that the diagonal could have been better by just stretching up through my body and shortening the stride on the last two strides. By shortening the last two strides you avoid the chip and make the closer distance look smoother.

Course 2: Right rein to quarter line away from home, outside 6 stride, diagonal 4 stride, outside 5 stride, to long approach diagonal oxer.IMG_6176

Develop the rhythm, raise the eye, 3,2,1 jump. The first fence was much better. Rhythm is our friend! Again the lines went well. I asked for a smidge to much in the 5 stride and almost ran out of room. Stay on the rhythm, don’t look for a distance to early, still don’t really see anything, stretch up and fit two compressed strides in instead of the chip. Success!

Thursday night:

I wish I could say that after ending on a good note Tuesday things were back to normal after my week off. But such is not the case.

We warmed up right rein towards home over the quarter line vertical. G wanted us to be proactive. Meaning, if the fence was good just carry on and jump it again. If the fence was not so good, he wanted us to fix the problem in some way on landing. The first time over Tuck and I were under the rhythm (plus I was having trouble seeing distance again) so on landing I moved him up and played with his stride on our way back around. I had trouble seeing the distance the second time over and ended up with a long spot. This caused me to not ride away from the fence (stop dwelling in the past!) and miss the lead which Tuck took upon himself to trot over. G yelled that I should have galloped him after that as he can’t just decide to break stride on his own. Left rein quarter line towards home. I got my shit sorted out and had two nice better fences with lead changes after.jump2

Course of singles: right rein quarter line towards home, to diagonal green oxer, to left rein quarter line towards home.

Pick up the canter, start to panic, turn the corner towards the jump, convince yourself that you’re not in the right position in the saddle, start to panic even more, panic further because you can’t see a distance, stop riding, allow horse to veer left and with your left foot take down the whole fence when it hits the standard. Hold back panic tears. WTF!!!! No idea why that happened. Which is what I told G. I just panicked for no apparent reason. G fixed the jump and had me start again after telling me to try not to go bowling this time. He always knows how to make me relax and smile. The first fence was much better and the diagonal was good. I had trouble seeing the distance on the second quarter line and dumped him a little but it wasn’t terrible.

Course 1: right rein quarter line towards home, long approach to green diagonal, outside blue 5 stride, diagonal yellow 5 stride, to outside purple 6 stride.

We veered a little left over the first jump. I rode away from the jump and then counter flexed to get him moving off my left leg. Straightness wise the diagonal was a little better. I was feeling a little backed off and I knew I’d have to fight myself to push for the striding. And I did. Moved up through the outside 5 stride, balanced through the corner, moved up again through the diagonal 5 stride, balanced a little and came around (through a mucky puddle) to the 6 stride, jumped in and pushed. On the second and third stride we went a little crooked. I corrected by adding left leg. Split second realization and decision that I’d have to move up even more to make the 6 strides. And I did it! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was with that last line. For the first time in my life, while in a line, I could see where I was and pushed us out of it instead of holding/doing nothing for the add. Win!!!

IMG_6170

I need John to come out and take some new pictures!!!

G critique: When I move up I have a tendency to let go of the contact. This lets Tuck get flat. Which means that he could drop rails and won’t bascule over the jump. Keep the contact!

Course 2: Left rein quarter line towards home, yellow vertical bend to green oxer, trot black diagonal, bend to purple oxer, red vertical, rollback to blue oxer.

I worked on keeping the contact. It felt strange like I was shortening his stride while asking him to move up. But I kept at it and jumping was much better. The only trouble that we had was the bending from the trot fence to the purple oxer. Tuck landed on the left lead and I had difficulty getting him to switch.

G critique: I should have held out longer in the bending line to create the shape for a lead change. What I did was stay on more of a straight line, get the front and then three strides later get the back.

To finish: left rein quarter line away from home (backwards), trot fence bend to purple oxer.

We had a long spot on the quarter line. G had us walk and start again. He explained that without boxes and fill on that side of the jump we should treat it like a jumper fence and get closer.IMG_4086

The second time through I stayed connected and got a much closer distance… possible too close as we pulled the rail. Over the trot fence I made sure to have him bent slightly right to hopefully get him to land the lead. And he did. I held out for a nice bend to the purple.

Takeaway: Don’t go for more than a week without jumping! Rhythm, raise your eye, create the pocket for the lead. To avoid a chip stride stretch up before a fence to shorten the last two strides/add a stride instead of chip. Don’t let a mistake stop you from riding the rest of your course properly. Don’t throw away the contact when moving up for a distance, it will cause Tuck to get flat and not jump as nice.

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11 Responses to Lesson Night – Straightness and Contact

  1. hellomylivia says:

    Love your takeaway, those are all things I try to remember too 🙂 That, and deep breaths in and out on an approach. Sounds like a really productive lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are takeaways that are a good reminder for me too. I tend to let one mistake really rattle me and ruin the rest of the course. We need to remember to ride on and not worry about the past. That’s so hard though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karley says:

    It’s hard when you get out of the normal swing… Glad you got some good lessons!

    Liked by 1 person

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