Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Adventures at Trainer's - pt 1

There's very little media to recap this lesson.

Being an eventer whose time living in hunter/jumper land was primarily as the 'get it done' working student, it's entirely possible I rely on my inner eye and stickiness more often than I rely on finesse in the stadium ring.

Trainer N started really nailing me on my lack of precision, asking me to recount exactly what I was thinking about each stride through these bending exercises, expecting me to halfhalt in very specific places, to ride the same track each time through the exercise. 

We discussed the difference between a horse running away with you and moving up to the jump (ugh I know this but it's always good to hear someone call me on it.... agaiinnnnnn).

We did a lot of flatting with Tango because he does this funny twisty thing with his neck when he isn't really filling the right rein, so we played with experimenting techniques that brought him under himself more evenly and into the rein in a straighter fashion.

Over fences we did this very challenging exercise where the poles were placed two bending strides and two bending strides before and after the jump. At crossrail heights, we were aiming to the pole two strides AFTER the jump, focusing on keeping ourselves balanced and paying attention to our feet. As the fence went up (maxing out at probably 2'6"), we did the pole two curved strides before the jump. He was so mellow and chill about the pole that I actually had to (GASP) apply leg to get him to move up to the pole a little bit so that he'd have two open and quiet strides to the jump instead of one too-mellow stride and one HAIL MARY stride.

Kat was a rockstar, although I did receive the suggestion that maybe a running martingale would be a good idea for her, as she sometimes gets so far above my aids and drops her back so well that it's very difficult to get her back to me. I have yet to implement this idea.

We rode a fairly simple course filled with lots of swooping lines and changes of direction. I was asked to keep breathing and make sure that I actually rode the plan.

It was eye-opening. I have either lost this skill or never gained it in the first place... I am very good at getting horses cleanly over jumps, but this does not always mean that I get them to the BEST takeoff point every time, or that I ride that track I originally planned, or that I even keep thinking in the middle of the course.


  1. i love that exercise of focusing on riding the 'track' instead of the jumps. that's a thing we did constantly in h/j land but that comes up rarely in my lessons in eventer-land....


      But seriously we'll analyze how many steps of the hind leg to make it through our ten meter quarter circle in the corner and then out in stadium we're all 'what are corners.'

      Oh that's just me?

      Thank goodness for great trainers.

  2. With so many moving parts it is so hard to remain engaged. Track is so important in the jumpers and I think a lot of people forget that just thinking speed.

    1. And the thing is, I can accurately ride the tightest track I can design. Now ask me to step it out, to stay straight for longer, to make sure EVERY fence is ridden perfectly straight... and I completely fall apart. Eiiii.