|2 years ago ... I should probably just stay at this level|
I'm hard on myself. Really, all I have to gauge mine and Tiki's progress on at the end of the day is a feeling. And my feeling from today is that I feel sorry for my horse. Like, for real. Why the HE!! can I not see a distance? I've been riding horses for MORE THAN 20 YEARS. Wow, I feel old. I've been JUMPING horses for more than 20 years. WHY can I STILL not get consistent, good distances? It's so freaking frustrating. I count, I sing, I sit up, I focus on the quality of the canter, I focus on the rhythm, I look for the 3,2,1 ... why is it that distances elude me more often than they come to me? Do I just try too hard? Not hard enough? Should I give up and just ride western? Sigh.
He started out resembling a brick ... but after adding copious amounts of leg, balancing half halts, and slowing my posting down, he began to stretch and slow down. Before I knew it, the trot felt quite lovely. Cantered both ways and he swapped behind once or twice; he was a little fresh today. I last rode him Friday, and LR didn't ride last weekend. Also, it was the first time he's come out of his blanket all week, and even though it was finally a decent day temp wise, it was STILL windy. Anyway, I didn't stress about the swishiness, I just began to jump.
Cantered a cav (good), turned and trotted a crossrail (good), came back to cav (good), trotted crossrail (good), jumped cav and stayed straight down my 3 stride line; LONG. And WEAK. Did line a few more times, keeping leg on until the 3 started to ride well. Came into the jump from 2 weeks ago, a coop section sandwiched between 2 cavs. Epic fail. Way too long, got left behind, felt awful. I widened it a little bit, it was 3'6 wide but didn't look it because it was nice and full. Did the other jump coming into the 3, it was a frankenstein; a barrel put together with the other section of coop, framed by poles and cones. He could have cared less to look at it, but AGAIN. Miss. AGH!
When I finally managed to jump the coop/cav oxer well a few times, I cantered the 2nd jump in THAT line, a 3' vertical. Nailed it, felt great. Threw in the crossrail a few times, jumped the 3' again, and he felt like a rockstar. Did the 3'3 vertical from 2 weeks ago; it was still set on the same diagonal from the gymnastics we did, and he nailed it, it was FABULOUS. The jump rode big, but awesome. I came into the 3'3 oxer we crashed and burned last time, determined to do it well. Had a good canter, he was straight with NO bulge at all. Saw the spot long, kicked, and he was not there for it. He would have preferred the add all the way. So what happened? Crash. Again. He crashed SO hardcore, I very nearly fell off. On the back side, he tried really hard to buck me off ... 3 times. I could NOT blame the poor horse. I got myself organized, and went right around to the outside 3 stride where he jumped it fine. I got off, and lowered the back pole 2 holes to make it more of a square 2'9 oxer. Did the coop/cav 3 stride line to the 3' vertical, and he jumped that great. Did the other outside line and he was great. Nailed the 3'3 vertical twice more and he was picture perfect. Came up to the oxer, fully aware even though it was 6" smaller, he may jump the snot out of it, but kind soul that he is, he cantered right up to it and jumped beautifully.
I did 1 or 2 more jumps, then the oxer one more time and again it was good. Quit there. It is a miracle I haven't turned Tiki into a stopper yet. He just doesn't see his own distance; he lets me pick. Since I have NO eye, I'm not always right, so I end up lying to him. I just don't know what to do. I canter poles, I work on rhythm, I make myself sit still and not throw him away, yet still ... I would say easily 40% of the time, I see nothing.
I think a person that can't ride down accurately to a 2' jump at least 8 out of 10 times shouldn't be competing Training. I'm really re-evaluating my decision to move up again. I may just stick at Novice; I can NOT be crashing him through 3'3 oxers in the ring, it's ridiculous. Maybe today was just an off day, I don't know. The footing wasn't very good today, it was really hard. When Tiki took out the jump, he took a strip of skin off his stifle. Won't surprise me if it's a little big tomorrow, he whacked it really hard. I just need to spend the rest of my life in remedial lessons, I guess because I just don't learn.