This week I’ve been very determined to work hard on getting Addy more sensitive to my leg. I am going to figure out how to poke pony with my leg, and then pony will move over when I poke her. This is the goal.
I hopped on to school Monday and walked more than I’ve ever walked to warm up- we did our lateral work homework. Lots of leg yielding (and trying to keep her shoulder from bulging through) and turns on the forehand. She was sweaty and responding really well to my leg by the end of our ride! Even though we spent most of our time walking, she was super engaged and working her whole body instead of the mosey-ing WTC we usually do. It felt good to use this as a training opportunity for both of us instead of a practice session just for me. She already has the training and know-how and willingness, she just needs a little tune-up on what I’m asking.
I was super excited for my lesson on Wednesday after having that great ride under my belt. The saddle I usually use (Owner Lady’s Toulouse) is out for repairs so I was able to borrow Trainer’s Amerigo- a very different feel but I loved it! It was a little more slippery when we were doing no-stirrup work since it’s not as cushy as the Toulouse, but I felt very secure at the canter and around the turns. We started a little strung out at the canter and it was pretty tough to package her up- I was huffing and puffing by the time we took a break. If you don’t think riding counts as cardio, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s the course setup from last night:
We warmed up coming over 2 towards home (hence the 2h) riding that on a circle around half the ring. We moved on to 2a-6 in a quiet four once we were nice and straight and waiting to the base of the trot jump. I expected Addy to peek more at 6- it was a rolltop with pretty purple flowers standing straight up- but she sailed over it like a pro.
Then, Trainer terrified me. She told us to do 2a and roll back right to the wall in front of the standards. AKA the turn of doom.
We did it, first try!!! Granted, it was a crossrail and we trotted in, but we got it! This was such a needed confidence booster. Addy was little quieter than when we tried it last week, the jump was lower, I was more confident in our track, and it rode beautifully. We even managed to maintain a nice canter coming out of the turn.
With that rosy glow of success fueling us, our first course was 2a, rollback to the wall, 3a-4a in a direct bending 3, come over 5 and roll back left, then come back down 4h-3h in the bending 3.
Hooray for jumper turns! The first jump went smoothly again, and we had a nice powerful canter going into the swedish oxer (jump 3). The three strides out was a bit gappy for the other horses, which of course meant that it was a slight woah for us. But only slightly. We counter-bent and collected around the turn to the brick wall, and used an opening left rein to get back to the wall. Then coming into the yellow planks I didn’t hold enough left leg and Addy got confused, so while we still made the three strides to the oxer, “we made it over the jump” was about as complimentary as you could get. We went back and tried that line again, and when I held my leg the track was much straighter and more civilized.
Side note- the brick wall had a zebra gate on one side, bright orange flowers strewn across the top, and no standards. I was sure Addy would try to get wiggly to it so I was holding my leg strongly, but she popped right over without blinking. Very pleasant surprise.
The next course was extremely similar: 1-2h-3a-4a-5-4h-3h. So this time instead of rolling back to the wall, we were starting on the wall and rolling back to the quarter line. This was a little bit easier- we jumped the outside side of 1, then outside leg HARD through the turn, and sliced 2h towards the corner a bit. This deeper corner made it easier to maneuver around to the swedish, where we got an absolute flier in. We were able to recover on the out, but it wasn’t pretty. Then the brick-rollback-broken line home all rode very nicely. I went back and tried the broken line going away one more time, and this time we sat to the base and flowed out. Trainer mentioned that it’s always great to be able to recover from an “oops” in a line, but even better to get a good spot in so you can flow out.
I was absolutely ecstatic with this lesson- I’m still bubbling! We kept the jumps fairly low and just focused on how to keep the power going when you’re turning so tightly. It felt amazing. We can actually do jumper turns! I’m convinced Addy loved it- the more difficult turns we tried, the better she was about them. I loved it too- Hunterland has been very good for us, but I’m an Eq girl at heart and love to throw in some more complicated courses. I think Jumperworld will be a great place for us both to have fun doing what we love.
With that in mind, we’re going to a show on Saturday and we’ll be trying out the jumpers for the first time!! My plan is to do the 2’9″ and 3′ and see how it goes. I originally planned on doing the VHSA Adult Medal as a warmup, but I want to keep things low key and relaxed instead of worrying about switching rings. I even ordered myself a pretty navy blue Ariat polo to wear so we can look like real jumpers.
I’m a bit relieved since I’ll be able to keep all my usual gear instead of “hunterfying” it. We’re keeping the flash on her noseband, using the square pad with the fleece half-pad, and she’ll keep her boots on. Keeping everything consistent like that will definitely help me relax (I’m a creature of habit), and me being relaxed definitely helps Addy relax.
My lesson/show/real life bestie is coming to do the same classes, so we’re obviously planning on switching off 1st and 2nd. Obviously. We’re bringing wine to either toast to our successes or drown our failures. And our class won’t start until at least 10:30am, so we’ll get to relax and watch all the juniors from our barn win their classes! But actually, they’re all ridiculously good. We’ve got 10 horses going to this show, so we’ll just take over some space and cheer each other on. I’ve never shown with such a big group or had a show buddy before, and I’m loving it so much.
I’ll head over Friday to tire Pretty Girl out a little and get our gear ready, and then we’ll be off to the show! I’ll do my best to get video of our first ever jumper rounds; manfriend will be at drill this weekend and sadly can’t be on camera duty. Don’t worry, I’ll figure something out. Half the fun of showing is rewatching the video and dissecting every stride, right?
We will have another show recap for you shortly!
What do you wish you knew when you first entered the jumper ring? Any advice for this hunter/eq girl to make the switch?
PS- I submitted another post to Judge My Ride and got some good feedback! Definitely some good ideas to keep in mind. I highly recommend sending in photos if you have them, or even just browsing through the photos other people submit. I keep learning new things!