Had an interesting week this week. Managed to ride every day Tues-Fri at 6:00 in the morning. Monday I just couldn't make myself get up:( Had camp and lessons all week, so I HAD to ride early. I must say, it was significantly cooler (though I was still dripping afterwards). Rode both Tiki and Audrey all 4 days. I will give the "short" version of our rides.
Tuesday: worked hard on lateral stuff. Shoulder in, turn on the forehand, half turn in reverse, leg yields, flying changes across a diagonal. He got a full change right to left, but only a half change left to right. Both leads now feel exactly the same; good! Had a single 2'3 vertical set up, and trotted/cantered over a few times. It was good. My problems with jumping are: I pop up too soon, I don't release enough, I get left behind 85% of the time at trot fences, and I'm finding that I can't see a distance to save my life. My horse is a SAINT, and is jumping well DESPITE my riding.:(
Wednesday: longed in side reins. Really snapped the whip at him to get him tracking up behind so he would bend his neck. FINALLY got there at the end. He had a moment tracking right where he galloped, bucked, and squealed ... it was amusing!:) Overall, he DID work hard, though I feel it took about 20 minutes to get him where I wanted him.
Thursday: set up a "regulation" 4 stride line with 2'3 and 2'6 verticals. Not much room on the ends since the piles of footing are still there. Here's where my 2 frustrating days began. Flatted quickly with just a simple w/t/c (although, my horse can now trot on a LOOSE rein, FINALLY!!), then began jumping. Trotted into each fence singly before attempting the line. In fact, we have NEVER jumped a line at Joyce's barn at all; only single fences. Trotted into the 2'3, cantered out over the 2'6. The first line felt GREAT, but he knocked down the 2nd fence. Got off an reset it. Came again, got a little crooked. Came again, he got flat. Tried again, and he knocked down the first fence, but the line felt better. Cantered in, got deep to the first; added a stride and got deep. Cantered in, he did 4 perfect strides, dropped the 2nd pole. Got off, reset, jumped in the other way. Dropped the first pole. AGH!!!!!! Frustration was beginning to set in. Cantered again, came in long, was flat through the line, but made the strides. Finished with trotting in/cantering out, and it was OK, so I quit. Overall, I was dissatisfied with both my riding, and his laziness.
Friday: more of the same. Quick flat, then began jumping a modified course I'd set up. Moved the 4 stride line to the other side of the ring where there's a SMIDGEN more room. Set a LARGE pile of poles on the opposite long side. 3 cavelletti's on the diagonal set on a short 7 foot stride on the lowest setting, and a single cavelletti on the same diagonal set on the tallest setting. Trotted the poles, and he jumped. Stayed with him, yay! Cantered the cavelletti's, and they were short, but he felt balanced and good. Trotted in/cantered out of the line, and he felt decent. Cantered the poles, and the distance was good. Tried to canter into the line, got deep/crooked. Tried again ... deep. Reversed, tried again. Long, akward flyer and dropped the 2nd pole. Again ... long again. AGH!!! Cantered the single cavelletti across a long diagonal, and he/I were perfect. Nailed the distance, all was well. Cantered poles, all was good. Trotted/cantered the line, and it was much better. Felt good in the air. Should have stopped. But NOOOOO. Cantered in; LONG. Cantered in again; DEEP. Cantered in again; dropped the pole. Cantered the cavelletti and it was good, so I quit there.
Wow. My eye needs some serious work. After some brutally honest self evaluation, this is what I've come up with. My problem is the line is set close to the corner with virtually no time to canter straight on due to the footing piles. I have a weak canter coming in, then try to ride up to a distance that isn't there. I have to make a decision to either go long, or pull on his face and get deep. I usually end up pulling. OR, I try to "balance" in the corner, which means I pull on his face and get him slow, then try to find a distance out of a slow canter with no impulsion. Impressed yet? Don't be. I've only DIAGNOSED the problem ... now, I actually have to find a way to FIX the problem. I think another lesson with Susan is in order ...