12/4 Lesson Recap

Hump Day Jump Day was cancelled in favor of pony play time and earthworks around the barn (though I did end up jumping that evening AND achieving my goal of trotting at least ten jumps), so I had my jump lesson on Thursday morning instead. ¬†Since we’ve been getting a lot of rain in California lately, all lessons have been moved to the indoor, which is both a blessing and a curse. ¬†Indoors we tend to work a lot more on skills — grids, timing, placement poles, etc. — ¬†because there isn’t as much space, but it’s really hard to course inside, as the arena is basically just a full size dressage court.

But whatever, we make it work.

This week we had a 4-jump line down one long side, set up as a one-stride, one-stride, two-stride, and then one jump across the diagonal and our quarter round down the other long side. ¬†If I thought I could draw it quickly in a graphics program, I would. ¬†But… I can’t.

Anyway, after warming up we went straight into the grid with some of the jumps pulled down. ¬†Because it’s down the long side of the arena, and only about 7-8 strides from the wall, all the horses have wanted to turn really early, so I worked hard getting Murray straight after the final jump. ¬†I also tend to push Murray left over jumps (over-strong right leg) so I kept my left leg firm to keep him straight. ¬†Unfortunately, those two things have somewhat opposite effects (left leg on for straightness –> turning right immediately after the last fence) but we got it.

Alana put all the jumps up, and we popped through several more times. ¬†The turn through the short side really made Murray want to pull down, so I will have to practice balanced, ahead-of-the leg circles and corners in the future. ¬†I also worked on keeping Murray ahead of my leg into the grid while packaging his canter so he wasn’t rushing. ¬†When he’s pulling, Murray feels astonishingly quick and out of control, but watching the video I can see that we really weren’t moving that quickly at all. ¬†M can be very challenging to ride when he knows the course (which he tends to learn within two rounds), because he¬†thinks he knows exactly where we are going and how, and ignores my requests and suggestions on how we should approach things. ¬†So just more to practice.

I put together this video of the last time we did a couple of one-strides strung together, from back in July. ¬†There are a lot of changes from July to December!! ¬†Not only the height of the jumps, but Murray’s balance and impulsion as well.

In July I still ¬†rode around with pretty long reins and used speed to get Murray straight to the fences. ¬†In the beginning of the clip, you can see him pulling down as he almost always did back then (and still occasionally does now, but much less, as I am better at encouraging him to get his head up), although he lifts his head and focuses as we approach the line. ¬†In the second clip, Murray tapped the rail of the blue oxer with his hind feet because I got ahead — I drop my seat too quickly when I do that.

Overall, a really productive lesson and a good comparison of our improvement! ¬†This week we’re doing MORE grids, but they’re set up so you have to take them at an angle, from a rollback. Joy.