OH man oh man. This week cannot end fast enough.
I did have a jump lesson before my hiatus for holidays, and it went..Ok. I felt weirdly anxious, which I am going to chalk up to the pressure cooker that work has been all week. I just couldn’t shake it.
My jumping went ok, Oats had a very uncharacteristic slam on the brakes to a small oxer even from a PERFECT distance?! WTF? So, yeah odd. We re-approached and he was fine, and jumped it lovely each time after that, but still. Even during our course he had his ‘stop-hesitate-jump’ through a two stride that just seemed not great. Admittedly, I was having a lot of trouble getting straight to the two-stride, but still…
I wanted to ride the course through three times but the way I was feeling? Nah, not productive. So I rode it through twice, and called it at that.
It was ok, but I couldn’t shake the weird anxiety. UGH. Also I am thinking that I should look into some more preventative medicine for old Oats. He is getting up to 17, and not a spring chicken anymore.
I can do this. A few more hours. I can do this.
We have been working on some really interesting jump exercises recently. Every lesson I come in with anticipation and sometimes dread, ha, to see how much Nicole will challenge both Oats and I.
I am ready to accept the challenge!
This week we worked over 3 bounce x-rails (bounce-bounce-bounce), and then eventually into a course that had some interesting technicalities. Boy did we struggle with the bounces- I almost ATE it when I got left behind, and then bounced in the butt with the saddle and ended up on Oats’ neck. Whoops! Yikes!
Anyways, we also incorporated jumping a small jump, like a rail on the ground basically, on a 10-metre circle. Oats was really good at it, and did it three times in a row even.
Course time: Start on the left rein to the three bounce jumps. Left turn at E in a 10-metre circle over the small jump. Continue left and go across the diagonal, jumping the skinny on an angle. Going right now, jump over three bounce jumps. Right turn at E in a 10-metre circle over the small jump. Continuing right, go over the diagonal jumping the skinny. Continue right over the oxer, landing at ‘H’ and cantering into a ‘tear drop’ shape, jumping the single fence along the long side. Canter left lead into a 20-metre circle, ending the circle by turning in to ‘X’ and jumping straight down the middle, ending at ‘C’.
We aced it!
sort of- ha. But it was a great workout and an excellent challenge for the both of us. Whoop.
So in my post-juice-cleanse fervor, I forgot to update about my Thursday jump lesson! That’s right, juice cleanse + jump lesson = success?!!?
Um, maybe not.
But it was a very interesting one anyways. Circle jump with two skinnies (box and an arch) that we were VERY bad at, and even worse at angling…I just couldn’t seem to think fast enough/get my eye and brain going around the turn in time. Ha. Poor Oats was like WTF are we…doing?
Anyways, it was a pretty challenging ride and we didn’t even make it to the full course- I was exhausted! My legs were burning and I was huffing and puffing. Oats was quite sweaty, and seems to be sweating through his clip job in November, arghh.
My final course went like, circle jumps to the right, angle the arch (didn’t make it, had to go around and angle it correctly) to a small canter-in grid, to the circle jumps, jump across the diagonal, go large to a small verticle on the long side and then back to the circle jumps going to the left, and then over the ‘road closed’ on the long side, back to other verticle on the long side, with an angled jump over the arch.
Tiring I tell ya!
I couldn’t figure out if I was tired b/c of the juice cleans or just plain tired because it was a tricky and technical ride. I’m going to chalk that up to both!
Ohh yeah, I didn’t update this from my jump lesson on Thursday because it ended up NOT being a jump lesson, instead more like an exercise in frustration with poles! UGH!
Miss jumping outside, and well, can’t we just just jump it? haha.
We did this crazy zig-zag course with like 10 metre canter turns and wow it sucked and we were bad at it. Like, really bad. Oats was dragging me through my outside hand, and for probably the first time ever my trainer was shouting at me to halt and then canter. Halt? Oats? His preferred gait is ‘standing around doing nothing’ so I was pretty surprised. But it was true…I was getting dragged and he was getting heavy and together we were going nowhere.
So the poles did not get put to jumps because we were kind of sucking at it so hard. I was sweating, Oats was sweating and it was just a lot of work and not the really fun type of work, the really hard type of work.
I then went home and pondered on it. Not fun but hard. Hm.
And practiced it a bit on Saturday (getting schooled again by the idea of a dressage canter and not holding a line to a pole correctly..ha). I let it go a bit on Sunday and schooled some easy lines to the World’s Smallest Xrails. Another trainer or kid likes to set jumps that are so small that I think Oats finds them hard to see, let alone jump! But I was also feeling kind of lazy (weekends, and a long run will do that to you). I left them and we schooled them.
All in all, ok. But man…Feeling like a plateau in my riding for sure. ARGH.
Oats and I had a tricky FREEZING jump lesson last night. Temperatures plummeted and it was threatening snow all afternoon (on Vancouver Island. Snow?!!). Definitely unusual and cruel for all of us, I was just lounging at the beach last weekend – true story! It did end up snowing all night too. Crazy.
This was Sunday. Today it is freezing and it snowed. WTF?
Anyways, it was a shock to the system for both of us.
The lesson? 3-jump one stride line, a bounce on the diagonal – the evil diagonal that keeps haunting my dreams…, the panel jump and another flower x-rail on the diagonal, that was simple.
What was not simple? Managing to ‘keep riding’ through the bounce and managing my pace through the one-stride line. I keep wanting to blast through it, OR when we come in deep, -stall- out through it instead of riding more strongly.
There were no huge mistakes, well except for the bounce jumps, ha those were definitely iffy, but I was pretty pleased with how reasonable Oats was and how quickly the bounce and one-stride exercise was making us think! This is not my forte, at all. I like to think about jumping, oh…four strides after the jump, or 10 strides before it. Not AS it’s happening. Whoops!
Overall a good and fairly technical ride. Hm, much like my dressage lesson on Tuesday. Sensing a theme here…
This week for riding, I have been (lackluster? lacking motivation? ok?) well, all right.
Oats jumps an imaginary jump (aka a ditch, haha). Miss field riding already!
No dressage lesson on Tuesday as I did an equine counseling session instead, and that was actually really good and emotionally helpful. Monday was a good ride, though I am having trouble translating my practice into my lessons! More on that on Thursday…
Thursday, small jumps and a general troubling lack of forward (in the beginning). Also my bad diagonal straightness-to-bend came roaring back and it was like I hadn’t done any practice at all! (I know it takes more than a week but jeesh cut me some slack here, horse!).
Good: Jumps felt and were small. My urge to sit up and pull back to a ‘distance’ I mostly quashed! Oats jumped nicely when we were straighter. I had the strange desire to go again! And again! Who is this person? Haha. I left myself wanting *more*.
Bad: Straightness and bend. EEEK. Forward was kind of a non-thing at first, and Oats was distinctly sassy. One big crop led to one big BUCK! (My trainer was like, great!! Use that energy!!). Stop kicking and flapping with the leg- use the crop instead, every time. This only backfired once when we drifted instead of oh, going straight over the jump and almost ran into a standard. Whoops!
So…I am seeing more bad than good here, but you know? It wasn’t all bad, just like it isn’t always all good.
Back to the indoor doesn’t have to be boring or draggy- in fact, it’s quickly becoming an opportunity to sharpen/refine our skills. Of particular importance, my bad habits of letting Oats motorbike around turns when we are jumping and kind of just ‘give up’. No longer!! This time I am GOING to fix that problem (five years in the making, but who’s counting?!).
But yes, we worked on a particularly challenging course last night. Jump height-wise…Nothing impressive. But, we had a circle jump (hard for us), a skinny, some small barrels, a two-stride, and straightness!! to work on.
And it wasn’t easy, or very neat. But, we did improve throughout the ride, which is kind of what I’m going for. Things I am learning and hoping to work on this winter:
- Fixing my corners, no more motorbiking/forgetting to ride/sitting up!
- No pulling his head to the left over the jump!
- No nagging with my leg. Let him relax, then GO for the jump, then relax.
- Leg stays still.
- Upper body stays still. Elbows are in shoulders are up.
- Hands release, shoulders don’t release.
- Adjustability in the canter.
- No sitting back when I don’t see a distance and pulling up with my hands. Go with the flow.
- Both reins used, with contact. This is a tough one for me, as I tend to want to only use one rein with the other flopping uselessly. I get afraid that too much contact will slow him down!
Sooo yeah, lots to work on. But, I did quite enjoy my ride 🙂