Thursday, April 13, 2017

Keep Up the Good Work

It's been a long couple of weeks.  We had an inspection at work this week and it served as a prep for a major inspection that's coming in October.  Lots of long days with lots of emails, calls, and meetings.  I've been too tired or mentally exhausted to ride more than I'd like so I'm only riding maybe 3 days a weeks, as opposed to my usual 5.  But Peebs doesn't seem to mind, and it hasn't affected our work. After my "OMG we can canter right" moment a few weeks ago I've been able to repeat that nice feel almost every ride.

 I even got crazy brave one day last week and tried cantering a fence off the right.  It did not go well.  He got crooked, and fast, and high headed and I got scared/mad and pulled on him.  As I tried to go back and establish a nice canter again I realized I was the problem. Cantering up to that fence I took my leg off, locked my elbows, and perched on his back in the fetal positon instead of driving him forward from my inside leg, opening my outside rein and half halting every couple of stride, and sitting deep and holding him together....just like I do when we're just cantering around the ring. No wonder he gets freaked out cantering fences to the right; I tell him I'm freaked out then get mad at him for freaking out and then he freaks out more. Sorry Peebers!

The day after that realization I tried again.  I didn't warm up over any other fences, just went straight to it. I sat deep, focused on bending him right and keeping him together. The first time he got a little over bent and drifted past our turn but I'd much rather have that then the complete lack of turning right we had a month ago. The second time I picked him up with my outside rein more and it was a perfect three strides out of the turn.  He landed on the correct lead and canter quietly around the corner. I let him quit with that, after only 20 minutes and two jumps.

Good ponies get to go for walks down the road and maybe steal a bite of grass

We had a lesson on Monday and even attempted a line going right. Trainer had us trot in and trot out, focusing on keeping the right bend and having an active trot.  We did have to circle between the two fences, more to reestablish the bend.  He was more than willing to drop down to the trot after the first fence. Trainer said when turning to the first fence I need to aim for the inside standard and push him out to the middle of the jump and when I was able to coordinate myself and him it worked really well. We moved on to a little figure eight with two jumps on the diagonals, working on switching his bend before the fence so he'd land on the correct lead.  Not surprisingly it was much harder going left to right then right to left. To finish we did an eq style rollback that was surprisingly easy.  If I can get his bend correct, and get him in front of my leg, the distances are a piece of cake.  Now if only I can get that feeling every time we'll be golden!