Thursday, March 12, 2015

Death by Trot Poles

In a continuation of the simple-but-oh-so-hard exercises I had a lesson on Tia Sunday that kicked both of our asses. I had been talking with my trainer at the beginning of the lesson about the clinic and joked that she'd have me do an all trot fence/pole lesson and while she laughed and said no, I managed to jinx us.

Tia is not a super fan of trot fences.  She likes to either loose all forward impulsion and then kinda collapse over them or canter the last stride before the jump.  It's a balancing act between enough leg to keep her forward but not get her cantering, and supporting with your hand but not holding her. Since she's such a schoolmaster she knows we do a couple trot fences then move on to the funner, bigger stuff so she kinda checks out during warmup.

We were to start warming up over three small verticals, at the trot, a single outside, singe diagonal, then an inside rollback to an outside. The first fence actually was pretty decent but she wasn't convinced she had to come back to the trot for the other fences.  She did canter before the diagonal and our rollback left a lot to be desired.  Trainer then had us just focus on the rollback, making sure I was looking early and asking for the left lead to make the turn easier.  Tia then decided to get twisted and drift sideways to the last fence so we got a placing pole to help keep us straight.

Accurate representation of us
While the turn and approach to the last fence got easier, the mare kept rocket launching the tiny jumps.  So trainer put out a placing pole before the jumps. Didn't faze Tia any, she just launched from farther away or did a super short canter stride between the pole and the jump. At this point both my trainer and I were laughing that the point-and-shoot horse was having a fit over such a simple exercise and I repeated that we were going to spend the whole lesson on trot fences.

We got more placing poles before the jumps and Tia completely lost it.  She stopped and (very slowly) ran out of our line of 3 placing poles. It felt like she had no idea what to do or where to put her feet. Coming back around to the diagonal I really had to hold her hand and support  her, hands up and plenty of contact and a supporting leg. It took her many, many tries with some, as my trainer said, truly terrible jumps.  A few times it felt like she straddled the fence with her front feet on one side and her back end on the other. I've never had so many bad distances in one lesson.  Once she finally she figured out the trot poles and we could trot the two fences nicely we quit. We had spent almost a full hour on those two, seemingly simple fences.  The poor mare was super sweaty and look exhausted so she got a nice warm bath and turned out into our all weather paddocks for the rest of the day.

1 comment:

  1. aww poor thing - sounds like the poles took her completely by surprise! i like to joke that ground poles are harder than actual jumps... but honestly i think it might be true!!