Friday, March 22, 2019

Fixing the Left Lead

We were finally able to conquer our issues with cantering fences on the left lead, especially single diagonal fences. I'm sure I'll screw it up again at some point, and I'm interested in seeing how Peebs does in six months to a year after his stifle injections, so I'm sure this will crop up again, but for now it feels really, really good.

We hauled over to A's again Saturday afternoon and rode with her and Scottie. Scottie has some going forward issues, and thanks to an unfortunate incident during a lesson with a dressage trainer, he's regressed a bit.  We played follow the leader a little on Saturday to encourage Scottie to move forward, since following Peebs is one of his favorite hobbies. It reminded me of little kid lessons and it was fun to goof off a bit.

A post shared by Molly Basney (@mollybasney) on
I really wanted to focus on our left lead issues during my lesson on Sunday.  I felt like Peebs just needed a good, solid ride over fences, and since his going sideways freaked me out I felt like I couldn't give that to him. I talked to my trainer about her doing a schooling ride and she was all for it, until I explained why. She gave me the look, and told me I was more than capable of giving Peebs a good ride, we just needed to start at the beginning. She did say that if things went south during the lesson she'd get on him.

Between the super weather and A's bright jumps it definitely felt like spring!
We warmed up over a few cross rails, then tackled a three stride line. My trainer took down one of the single fences across the diagonal that we had warmed up over and told me to add it after the line. It was the long approach single off the left lead. She told me to just point his nose in the middle of the standards and do nothing else.  She didn't care if he went through it crooked, bulging sideways, or on the forehand.  We just had to canter through the standards and I had to not do anything. Since I've been told to do nothing for a few lessons in a row now, it doesn't feel as terrifying as it first did and I was able to execute the plan. We manged to canter through the standards only slightly crooked on the first try.

The full chute
We did a few more tries at cantering just through the empty standards with me slowly picking up on Peebs more. My trainer added ground poled to help keep him straight and I was told I could only pick up on him after the second pole. I was to turn off the rail, let him be, then 3-4 strides out half halt him.  I figured after doing a few times through with nothing between the standards, she'd add a pole but she set up a cross rail and told me nothing changes. And what do you know, nothing did change!  Our first time to the cross rail was crooked and we got there on a half stride but Peebs figured it out and landed without issue. Our second time through I was better about our turn and the distance was perfect. We ended the lesson there, but I was told to do it again the next day.

It was 77 when I went to ride on Monday, which felt like a heat wave.  Peebs was tired and lazy, I was tired and lazy so I didn't set up all the ground poles. In fact I set up no ground poles. We warmed up then went straight to cantering the single cross rail. I kept hearing my trainer's words from the day before in my head, and reminding myself to not do anything till 3-4 strides out and it worked. I know I've been told to not try and find a distance as soon as you make your turn to the long approach single, but this really seems to have made it stick. Hopefully I'll be able to remember once we enter the show ring!


  1. Woohoo! Love a good break through!

  2. Sounds like a really good exercise and I'm happy that your trainer made you stick to your guns and do it!