Monday, November 12, 2012
There's not a whole lot of info out there on the web about Simon Eades. Pretty much the only info I could find was, 1. he's British, and 2. he's an eventer. Wow.
The lesson was WONDERFUL. It was one of those days where he said EXACTLY the same thing Jeff Cook and Janet have said to me, but in the way of great trainers, said it just a LITTLE bit differently that caused it to resonate with me.
He began with asking my history. I loved the way he actually crouched down and looked up at Tiki, just wheels turning in his head. He scrutinized our tack and Tiki's body, but didn't comment on anything. I told Simon our history, then off to work! It was only an hour and I was riding with 2 other people, but I got on 35 minutes before the lesson. I wanted TONS of time to get him loose and settled. Southern Comfort has a wonderful full indoor ring, and a field out front with a fair amount of stadium jumps set up. I worked in the indoor, then took him outside and hacked between the pastures. He met a sheep for the first time (ok), and met a baby cow for the 3rd time or so. He SO wanted to run away from said cow, but I talked him into standing still.
I equipped the muffin with ear plugs, his hat to help keep them in, the wonder bit, and the 5pt sans martingale attachment. As a last minute decision, I carried a crop and put on my xc neck strap, just in case. Strangely enough, the trot in the indoor after a long hack through the pastures was GREAT. It was big, forward, and slow. YES! Moved to the outside, and after watching Tiki for a few minutes Simon said he was NOT a bad mover, just full of himself:) Yep, I concur! Asked if I do a lot of "long and low" with him. When I said "yes", Simon said "stop". Haha. He explained that Tiki needs to be ridden like a jumper, and needs to come up into a frame and sit down behind. He wants to be too flat and pull along with the front end vs push from his rear.
Is this a surprise? NO. The first exercise was a crossrail to 4 bounce poles. Worked well! We had to trot in up a pretty good hill, and I was fighting with finding and maintaining the perfect trot. Simon gave us some great corrections, such as telling me to SLOW DOWN MY BODY. Gee, I've never heard THAT one before. Simon gradually built up the gymnastic so that there were 5 bounces in a row. We trotted in each time, alternating direction coming in. The jumps were all low verticals after a crossrail coming in. I was having trouble keeping the trot the right pace. He wanted to get a little up and down, and Simon had me circle a few times to get the right trot going. He explained there's as FAST as Tiki wants to go, as SLOW as I want to go, and the middle is the right speed. Alrighty! Makes sense:)
I got a little left behind with the hands once, and he told me to make sure to release, but sit more in the middle instead of in front of him. Simon called me out on allowing Tiki to drift left through the gymnastic, and for keeping too much of a feel the last time through and "helping" him slow down. He is a big believer in get the horse TO the gymnastic, then let them figure their way through it. After going through a few more times with it set as the 5 bounces, he changed it up. Trot in crossrail, pole, vertical, pole, ramped oxer. The vertical was about 2'6, and oxer the same. He whacked the oxer coming out, and Simon wanted me to just sit back a little more in between the jumps. Raised them up until the vertical was about 3', and the oxer 3'3. He went through well, then we made a left hand turn to a scary blue gate thing with a giant 'x' across the front and pole on top. It was downhill, and about 2'9. One of the riders had to canter it, one had to trot it, and I got to pick. I was PLANNING to canter in. I was so slow that as he came up to it, he broke to the trot. I made a snap decision just to ride it at the trot. I got hugely complimented for giving him a "perfect" ride. Whoops! Guess I played it off well;)
Our final exercise was to raise and widen the oxer again, square it up, then adjust the pole to get him in a little deeper to it. Holy. Shnike. That was the most giant oxer I think I've ever jumped in my life. Regular readers of my blog know that oxers aren't my favorite of jumps to jump, so I tend to avoid them unless I'm giving myself a butt kicking. I grabbed my neck strap trotting in to the crossrail just in case. I was so preoccupied with not dying that I forgot to RIDE, and I allowed a HUGE left drift. He jumped the oxer GREAT, but off to the left. Simon told me to do it again and, "Get Bloody Straight This Time". Came in again, stayed straight, sat back and closed my leg after the vertical, and the oxer felt AMAZING. Right lead turn to another 3'ish vertical down hill, and he jumped it perfect.
Simon was very complimentary of Tiki. His comments were,
"Got plenty of jump there, doesn't he?"
"I'd imagine over 3' he finally starts to jump HALF WAY decent"
Overall, the final remarks were to stop with the long and low, and really attempt to jump from the deep one as often as possible. Tiki jumped the giant oxer great; Simon said his shoulder was up, his knees were up, he was square, and pretty much perfect. After Tiki jumped the final vertical, Simon said, "THERE'S your reward! He jumped that perfect. Rocked back, lifted up correctly, and showed good form". He also said he didn't like that the jump had to get so big before he finally showed good form. He would rather I send him through a small gymnastic, and use a 2' oxer to get that front end up instead of a 3'6ish+ I have no idea how big it was oxer:) It was at LEAST 3'6. And WIDE. And SQUARE. The other horses jumped back through one more time as well, but Simon had ramped it again.
I felt really, really good. I think he genuinely liked my horse, he had nothing negative to say about my position, just slow it down and stay back a little more. One of the girls rode with a very round back and Simon told her to "Take some lessons from Jen! She wouldn't let any of her students ride around like that!" Felt good:) I will 1000% ride with him again, I got a lot out of it. He thinks Tiki has all the jump in the world, I just have to ride him right and get him to jump up and over rather than AT the jump. Our next outing is at MSF with Paul McCrea. That should be interesting! This one will be more of a clinic style lesson, lasting 2 1/2 hours.