So yep... Here goes. We had a fun jump lesson today. I figured out what the problem was. When we lope around the little stuff, like even BN lately, he's lovely. Because he's just loping around with no impulsion. But because he's so big and they are so little, it's okay. It's easy. However, when the jumps get bigger, I panic. Kelly raised them and it fell apart. Basically we get to a spot and we either have to chip and end up practically underneath the fence or we have to take this huge long flyer. We had multiple bad fences in a row and Kelly said she saw what the problem was. And not to panic, because it was a non-issue! Ha! Easy for her to say. But she pointed out that basically, we lacked impulsion. And that once we got the impulsion, the problem would resolve itself. And she was right. :)
So... basically... when he's going nicely but without impulsion, we get to those icky spots because of the lack of impulsion but also because I tend to let him get a little longer and flatter right before the fence. However, if I have him going with energy and impulsion, we either get to the perfect spot, OR... I see the slightly longer spot but I have an engine and we can then move up to it. Without impulsion the move up doesn't/can't happen. Ohhhhhhhhh.... BUT... I need to be careful that I don't create speed instead of impulsion.
So... we had a repeat of previous lessons, but it's okay because it's a good lesson. We started out with a nice lovely BN/Nov canter. Then I closed my legs onto my saddle flaps. And if I didn't get a response, smack with the whip behind my leg. Then he goes forward in response. So fine, but now I've just got speed. So the trick is to let him surge forward but into my connection. Aha! The other trick is to test my canter through out the ride. Because... ha ha... Kelly pointed out that Dan can go from lovely lopey hunter to Rolex speed demon to behind my leg and putzing in one round. :) So.. when I walk my course, and when I'm riding, when I have a long stretch of canter, test it. Test the canter. Close my leg lightly and if I don't get a response, smack him with the whip. :)
So we did 3 or 4 little courses with the new thought and it was great! I created the canter in our courtesy circle and then off we went. And sure enough... I could see my distances now and ask for the move up if needed. Of course there were a few bobbles, some my fault, some just bad math distances no matter what we had done, but... it was way better.
The other thing we worked on was closing my legs (not just my heels) around him. Kelly told me to think of squeezing the saddle flaps with my thighs and calves. And... interestingly, it feels very similar to how I'm trying to ride my dressage. I need to put my leg at the girth and keep it there! And it wasn't that hard to do in my jump saddle today. Although I'm feeling it now!! Literally! And I have to work really hard to hold two point for a long time, so... winter goals.... But.. that thought process in my brain seemed to really help with my landing gear. Mostly, every once in awhile I'd fall back to pinching with my knee, but in general it was better. Yay!
Oh, and... going back to the speed thing. I was getting a little too carried away and let him get a little quicker than I needed. Impulsion is SLOW!
So.. my takeaways...
* Squeeze my saddle flaps and keep my legs at the girth
*Test the canter throughout the course
*Go for impulsion, not speed. Impulsion is slow!