Lesson Recap 1/29 & big girl news

First the big girl news: I applied for my first adult job yesterday! ¬†I had to write a cover letter and everything. ¬†I revamped my CV into a resume (more challenging than you’d think, when you’ve been total CV-oriented for the last six years), got some references, and put in for a job where I’ll be able to stay at my current barn for at least a little while. ¬†Boom! ¬†Being an adult.

Now, lesson recap!

Had a great pre-show lesson¬†Thursday morning, with yet another crazy twisty indoor course. ¬†Show is on Sunday starting at 8 AM, and our barn is just doing jumper classes. ¬†I’m going to start at 2’3″ and do 2’6″ and move up to 2’9″ if we’re feeling good. ¬†Which, after today, seems likely.

1-29We started with a red vertical, which I’m so glad I can trust Murray to take at an angle because it was off a tough turn and I saw some rough rides to it in earlier lessons this week. ¬†Rolled back to the sharkstooth and bending line in 7-8 to another vertical. ¬†Another rollback to a one-stride, then all the way around the arena to the fan oxer and a normal oxer 6 strides later.

Murray was, of course, extremely honest, and very careful. ¬†Out of many deep spots, he took down only one rail, and that one was actually with his hind end when I sat too soon. ¬†I was still a little bit all over the place, but Alana put up my stirrups so that I could sink down into my ankles better and use my knee angle more appropriately. ¬†This helped a bit, but I think the biggest part of me feeling “all over the place” has been that my form has deteriorated. ¬†Previously, I had a really solid not-quite-half-seat where my heels were at the girth and my seat just barely brushed the saddle with each canter stride. ¬†Now, when I try to approximate this seat my heels are a few inches back from the girth and I can get a little heavy in the saddle. ¬†I obviously just need to practice this more. ¬†Murray used to keep my honest by bolting and running out if I didn’t half this¬†perfect half-half-seat, but now he’s honest enough that he’ll go even without. ¬†Curse, you amazing pony! ¬†I was also throwing my upper body over the jumps too readily, a problem that always seems to rear its ugly head when we move up.

Here’s a video, not my best riding. ¬†Honestly, should really ride better at these heights (3’3″ on the fan and oxer), so¬†I’m working on it.

Despite my whining, there was a lot to like about this lesson. ¬†First of all, Murray jumps big and is totally honest and takes it all —¬†long spots, deep spots, whatever. ¬†We got rid of the seemingly “decreasing” step that I felt last week, and everything came to us in stride, even when we did take deep spots. ¬†We only had one refusal, which was my fault, and otherwise I managed to stay out of his way. ¬†Murray was uphill, forward, and responsive, and we took the twisty, turny course really well. ¬†We also practiced including a jump-off course! ¬†I’ve never ridden a jump-off, so I had no idea what to expect. ¬†After my first round at 2’6″ I asked Alana for a jump-off and we threw together five more jumps that I managed to navigate to without losing any impulsion or attention from Murray.

It was also a fantastic lesson for confidence building — I love jumping big before a show. ¬†Knowing that we can course 3′ and jump 3’3″ with room to spare really makes me feel good for our anticipated classes.

Moving forward, here’s what I will be working on with Murray and myself:
– slow my upper body and separate my arms from my upper body (i.e. autorelease without throwing myself at the jumps)
– sink deep into my heels and keep them at the girth
– set Murray up for the jumps and let him move to them
– grids and poles