|Pic from Jeff Cook in '10. Got pics coming from today...soon!|
Wow, I actually made some DIFFERENT mistakes. My biggest one? Seems I'm neglecting to get my horse good and truly straight. Began with a light w/t/c on a loose rein to get warmed up, then we got going on contact. We had to stay on a circle slightly smaller than 20m, and Paul wanted to see a uniform bend through the body and MORE TROT! He wasn't too fussy about where he wanted Tiki's head, just that "A jumper should always be in front of the leg". As we reversed through the center of the circle, Paul admonished me to keep the rhythm and not let him drop behind my leg through the smaller reverse circle.
Did a BRAND NEW exercise today; a counter bend on a circle. Paul got onto me about looking in the direction of the bend, I was to look where I was GOING and keep my hands to the inside of the circle. We gradually decreased the size of the circle, then was supposed to change to inside bend and gradually increase the circle back out. I misunderstood "gradual" and changed his bend too slowly. I am to change the bend immediately after putting on the leg. All of that was well and good, and we moved on to the first exercise.
There was a diagonal line set up of 3 sets of jump standards with the poles set as chutes along the diagonal. This was the R-L diagonal. The L-R diagonal was a single pole on the ground, then there was 5 trot poles straight ahead to a bounce of crossrails on the right outside line. The exercise was to trot straight through the chutes, trot over the single pole. Simple enough! Tiki did that well with the exception of just trotting the pole on the ground lol. He wanted to hop over it, no surprise. Second time through, we were to trot/halt in each chute, trot between them. Trot over the single pole again. He did that great, thank YOU LR for helping me work those transitions! My job was to keep the rhythm consistent and forward:)
Next exercise, he placed the pole up as a small vertical. We had to canter in to the first chute, halt. Left lead canter to the third chute, halt. Right lead for a few strides, then downward transition to the trot, trot the jump. I did well with that other than getting the left lead between the 1st and 3rd chutes! Doh! I couldn't even feel he was on the RIGHT lead. I felt like my trot jump was decent, and I just did a long crest release so I didn't catch him in the mouth should I happen to get left (as per usual during the warm up trot fence). Paul actually gave me quite the lecture about giving too much release and completely abandoning the contact. It makes perfect sense, short story is he wants me to NOT release with a huge loop in the reins.
Next exercise was to turn chutes 1 and 3 into 2' verticals 5 strides apart. He raised the single up to like 2'3. I told him about Tiki's propensity to canter on 2 leads in "fresh" situations, and sure enough, he did! The first time through, I trotted in/cantered out in a 7 because he landed on 2 leads, I came through the super short turn to the single and bulged left too much, then trotted the trot poles/ cantered the bounce. My corrections were to have more canter in my turns, get my horse straighter through his body and transition to the canter sooner after the trot poles.
Second time through we got 6 even though (again, as per usual) I "chased" him in the final strides. I also "chased" him to the short turn, but the trot poles to the bounce was better. I had a bit of a breakthrough in that I'd put Tiki in a little bit of a "bulge" cycle. Coming through that tight right turn to the single, I kept letting him go left because I kept seeing an extra stride and I was fitting it in. Paul said I was probably seeing the extra side BECAUSE I was allowing the bulge in the first place. Makes sense! He set some guide poles to help me straighten up, and lo and behold we got some nice forward but correct distances.
Final exercise was to canter the single, canter the line in 5, canter the bounce, trot the poles. Tiki did that well, I made sure to get him straight through the turn to the single, and it kept getting better when I didn't allow that bulge at ALL. I got down the 5 early and it was good, and he had no problem trotting out after the bounce.
At the end, Paul set up 4 poles to help us with the l-r lead change. It was 2 poles set longwise with 2 poles raised up for me to canter OVER. They were roughly 7-8 feet apart. I was to canter up to the poles and ask for lead change like normal. It really helped! The first few times I AGAIN allowed the left bulge and he ended up on 2 leads, but after Paul set another guide pole to help me get straight, all of a sudden Muffin was doing clean changes. At that point, we were done, but my riding parter in crime told him I'd REALLY wanted to do some bigger jumps. Paul said I could if I wanted. I said I would love to do something at 3', but I didn't have to. He set the first jump of the line up at 2'9, and I cantered in on a lovely flowing canter, kept my hands up, shoulders back, seat light, and I saw the perfect distance. He floated over it, I kept a nice following hand, and Paul was pleased. He put it up 2 holes and I came again. Again, saw a perfect distance, and I didn't sit up QUITE as quickly as Paul would have liked. Lol, the difference between hunters, jumpers, and eventers! That's the only pit fall with riding with ALL THREE types of trainers lol:) I came one more time and sat up quicker after the jump and Paul and I were both happy.
At the end of the day, despite being EXTREMELY distracted and stressed out, I'm super happy with both my own riding and concentration, and Tiki's behavior. He's never been to MSF before, and he was perfect. I'm SO glad I clipped him because he was definitely sweaty at the end. Did his usual head nodding/right hind kicking/add behavior. Sigh. He's such a red head! And on another good note, the boy has decided the last few times he's been anywhere that self loading is cool. All I've had to do is point him in, throw the lead rope over his neck, and in he goes! At least that is one less thing to worry about:) Moving forward, I have no plans. LR will do a BN with him, we will both continue to work on the fluidity and quality of his flatwork, I will take them xc schooling at Calimar, and hopefully will get back to SC to take a lesson from Carolyn some time soon. Thanks for reading, hope these write ups are informative!!