Thursday, June 16, 2011

I've figured it out:)

After obsessively thinking about the weekend and watching not only my 3 videos, but also older videos, I've identified what I need to work on for next time.

1. My fitness. When it's 90 degrees by 8am, it's REALLY hard to get motivated to go exercise. I've struggled with my weight my entire life; I LOVE sweets (well, ANY carb, really). I just have to figure out how to make a lifestyle change that sticks forever.

2. Tiki needs to improve the quality of his canter. I realized that by NOT having my reins short enough, I can see the usual "bouncing" off contact I normally get in a show situation. I DO FEEL like I have a good contact, but after watching the videos a hundred times, I can see that I'm not following his mouth well enough, and the reins are not maintaining a nice, elastic contact between the jumps. I made absolutely NO effort to ask him to come down into the bridle because I was nervous, hot, and tired. I just wanted to hurry up and get it over with.

3. My leg felt weak. I need to ride with my stirrups tied the week before a show so I can get good muscle memory. Also need to embark on a "no stirrup month" again. I've only done that once in nearly 3 years. I really need to do that round abouts twice a year. I also need to be regularly stretching my achilles; it was weird to see me NOT really down in my heel. Upon further self examination, I feel this is probably because I've been making an effort to ride in the dressage saddle and not jump so much, and I'm trying to take Gigi's advice and not have my "knees up to my chin".

4. Finally, and this is related to my weak leg, I was popping up too early again. This has ALWAYS been my go to bad habit. Some people jump down the neck; I pop up. I compared my show from this last time:

to the one I did at Oxer Farm in December:

I picked the 2'6 course out so I could compare them at the same height. Overall, I feel my Oxer Farm course is smoother and more relaxed. My distances were there; I had one awkward jump at the first oxer and one flat out missed lead, but it was relaxed and I was happy with my body. At Mud Creek, he was more forward and his lead changes were better, but I almost wonder if I was subconsciously rushing him through it. I need to really think about my body and work on my auto release so I can stay down JUST long enough. I don't want to get into a habit of landing low on his neck, and then not be able to sit up on the xc course when I move up to Novice, and there's more (and bigger!) drop fences/water/ditches/etc. I need to get good at doing exactly what I NEED to do; no more, no less.

OK! Enough with the self flagellation, and onto this week! Well ... it's been hot, lol:) Haven't done much at all. Longed yesterday over a pole. He looked GREAT at the trot once the hard footing broke up a little bit. Really stretched long and low into the side reins, and maintained a pretty nice pace. At the canter both ways, he held it BEAUTIFULLY:) I did notice that even without a rider, he really wants to hold his head up and be hollow through his back, so I think I need a little hack session in the draw reins tomorrow to help him understand to keep his back UP and his neck ROUND at the canter. He's got it figured out at the trot, and once I help him figure it out at the canter, I think our jumping will improve 100%. Today, I walked the steep hill in his pasture in the dressage saddle and a halter. That's what I do when I have no time. Tomorrow my goal is cc saddle with the hunter bridle and the draw reins. We'll see if I actually do it!:) Later.


  1. I watched both your videos and I thought you looked better at the Oxer Farm show too. You looked "tighter" overall, not sure how to explain it but it seemed like a better ride. I'm in Georgia too so I understand about the heat. It's hard to concentrate on anything except how hot you are!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I know; it just had a nicer flow to it. Ugh, I'm just dying in this heat. I don't know how the FL people do it!