Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State of mind

My pony has seriously helped get my head back on straight. Had a few nice rides this week; yesterday I jumped for the first time in a bit. Had a bit of an "all purpose" course set; outside line of cabinet to stack, 2 inside crossrails, outside coop with a placing pole. Coop was 2'3, stack is just under 3', and the cabinet I finally set my "scary" poles up:) I'm a big chicken, I think we've established that. The scary poles are 8' poles stacked in a crossrail on TOP of the cabinets. Measures just over 2'6, but jumps bigger since it's a crossrail. Ring was wet, but no puddles. He felt just SUPERB on the warm up! Trot was big and on the bit. My transitions were just LOVELY:) Through my reverses, really worked on using my legs and bending him; he didn't "motorcycle" a single turn. I worked SO hard on staying back, keeping my butt tucked under, and NOT getting leany or perchy. I am the QUEEN of FORWARD;)

Warmed up with trotting both inside x's, then cantered the coop, then halt. Trot jumps were perfect, distance to the placing pole was spot on, through the halt, he is still hollow and pulls me down. So that was yucky, but other stuff was GREAT. Decided not to procrastinate, and did that again, then added on trotting both x's again, then cantered the outside line in a 5. He did NOT care about my stupid scary jump; didn't even look at it. In fact, the 5 was a little tight because he jumped in well.

Did it again; trot jumps were again spot on. I made sure I SAT for my trot transitions; in my last lesson, I was so forward, I just wiggled and pulled on his face for the downwards. Came in a hair long to the placing pole, so I let go in front of the fence and he got a LITTLE quick. Was glad I had the trot transitions coming up so I could get him back to me. Did the outside line in the 4, and it WAS a little quick, darn. I need to figure out how to get the "step" without him being tense and quick. He HAS the step; I'm sure it's something I'm doing that's causing him to get fast. Went through one final time, and he got quick to the pole/coop:( Sat him on his butt for the line, but he got a little *too* deep and caught the pole on the cabinet. Added and did the 5, and he jumped out over the stack fine. Oh, and my stirrups were tied, than goodness!!

Today, I spent a little time walking on contact. Did shoulder in and leg yields BOTH off and back on the rail. There were TONS of puddles. His royal highness really wanted to suck back and get hollow through all the water, but I kept my leg on and rode FORWARD today:) We're eventers now, baby!:) He was lazy, wow! Some good news, though ... when I shorten my reins and put my leg on, NO JIG. I guess our little fight last week stuck in his head. He did NOT jig or anticipate ONCE today or yesterday, yay! I made SURE that before I did a single upward transition from a loose rein, I made him walk on contact first. He felt really good, despite all the water in the ring today.

What I changed was the outside line. Picked up the cabinets so I could just ride between them, and laid the stack jump down to low cavs 9' apart. Rode the walk through them nice and forward, then FINALLY achieved a few perfect trot throughs!!! What I mean by that, is his rhythm didn't change, his back stayed round, and I didn't move at ALL through them. When I reversed direction to the right, and went to trot the cavs, I was a little tired and allowed my shoulder to drop just a little. Total disaster for the Muffin! He tripped, whacked his legs, and tried to jump out of them. Came again, LEG, BREATHE, DONT MOVE THE SHOULDERS. Wow, what a difference! From then on, every time I came in, I stretched TALL and stayed BACK, and he didn't have a problem again the rest of the ride.

I worked on staying slow and rhythmic at the canter through them; that's hard for us. When I sat, it worked pretty well even though it just felt awkward. When I allowed myself to get in a little 2-point, he rushed through it. So, I sat a final time through, he was quiet, I asked for a change ... nothing. Circled, he sped up, got it, then I cantered until he was perfect, then quit there.

My head has been in a bad place now for about a week, and the boy is slowly bringing me back to my usual "happy place".:) I'm generally a very happy person, so I'm glad he's working his magic on me:) Would love to get outside the ring before Saturday, but it has been SO wet, I'm not sure the pastures can even stand me just walking some hills. If I'm in the ring again tomorrow, will set up a little combination down the center of the ring I think; just a one to a two, set ON the step, that I can do both ways. Probably vertical, oxer, vertical. Not too high; 2'6 I think. It's the mechanics of it, NOT the height. LOVE my boy! So proud of our progress; can't wait until we can get out and do a little show some time soon:)

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