Monday, March 13, 2017

Inside Bend and Shoulders Back

I had a jump lesson on Sunday and I haven't really wanted to write about it, but since I only take two lessons in a month I feel an obligation to record it... so here we go!

The weather on Sunday was abnormally hot. There was a really nice breeze, but it was so sunny that the sunshine was warming everything (including skin and fur). When I went to fetch Casey, her hair was super warm and after just a normal free-lunge session, she was drenched with sweat. We decided to ride anyways, but kept the warm-up stuff relatively short. Trainer had us work on things like bending to the inside at a trot, working on rocking Casey back onto her haunches and then sending her forward again, and I was instructed to keep my legs from moving. Our canter work was pretty fun, because we got to work on bending at the canter. This was the first time Trainer had us work on that, which shows that she feels that we are now capable of working at that level. Casey had a super nice canter moment where on the left-lead she put her head down and really rolled through her back. Trainer was so impressed that she immediately had me ask Casey to walk as a reward!
Right-lead canter
20 meter canter circle
I was a tad frustrated with the flatwork. It was hot and I was getting overheated, but I think I was just having trouble communicating what I was feeling to my Trainer. For instance, Trainer told me that Casey is pulling too much on my hands and that I need to get on her case when she does that. What I feel I am riding though is a horse who is not actually leaning on my hands, but rather I might be not holding my own core up enough? As in, I think it's less about her pulling me and more me pulling myself forward because I'm worried about hitting her in the mouth? See... I'm having trouble putting it into words even here! When Casey does try to yank her head forward, I do reprimand her, but at that moment I didn't think she was pulling me, I think I might have been too giving with my reins because I was trying to help her balance herself. And I could be totally wrong about it, and I might need to be more harsh about the slightest pull on the reins, but I ride by myself so much that either I've just gotten used to it or I just don't feel comfortable being that harsh. Time and time again I say this, but I really wish I had weekly lessons, because then I feel that communication with my Trainer would be so much more improved. We would both be seeing the same things and so would be on the same wavelength. Hopefully some day in the future...
I think I'm just not holding myself with my core well enough
After warming up, Trainer set up a gymnastics line. It ended up being a one stride to a one stride to a two stride. Casey was being a bit over-enthusiastic in her attempts to jump, throwing herself over them and not bothering to have nice strides between, so Trainer threw down some canter poles between the one strides and that really improved things. I was working on keeping my shoulders back, eyes up, and being subtle with my releases, rather than just throwing myself forward. This did really improve and I felt really stable going over the jumps. Casey's job was to work on jumping nicely and actually using her body. Trainer encouraged her to jump nicely and to think about her body by making the oxer super-duper wide. It was probably 3 feet wide and 2'6"-2'9" tall by the end. The last jump Casey did was frickin phenomenal (and of course my phone stopped recording the line right before that so you're just going to have to believe me)! We stopped after that jump, because Casey had done so well and it was really hot so we didn't want to over-exert her.
Chucking herself over the jump

She jumps better as the jumps get bigger
Flying pony!
I'm staying with her better on the landing side, which is a good thing!
Do you ever have days where you have trouble communicating? Is there a trick to explain what you feel you are riding that I just don't have yet?

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