Thursday, January 19, 2017
Jump lesson with Ann
Yesterday I was adjusting horses at Halfshire and Missy mentioned that she was having a lesson with Ann Haller today at 4. I figured I would be back in time for a 5 pm lesson so asked to join in. I've kind of been wanting to ride with Ann and see what her take was and I've had a hard time scheduling Beth and Kelly because of their schedules and mine. So I figured I'd take the opportunity that was provided. And I'm glad I did. It was helpful, albeit embarassing. ;)
We started with some square turns. She had me walk a square and turn him by using my outside aids. So.. soften my inside leg (and not block him), close my outside leg and upper thigh to turn him, and close the outside rein and open the inside rein. Ann explained that this asked him to turn and collected him without trapping him. Oh, and that was the other key. I had to collect his walk just before the turn. So then we moved onto the trot and did the same exercise. At the trot, I had to be careful to lift my seatbone and not drop it into him. After the trot, we moved onto the canter. Ann wanted us to go into the canter from the walk. So we tried. It started out okay, but we were having more troubles with the left lead than the right, interestingly enough. Towards the end I got flustered and started asking wrong and making to worse. I was trying to time my aids with his outside hind hitting the ground so he could coordinate his legs to get the correct lead. But I was then asking with the outside leg instead of the inside leg. So yes, I need to bring the outside leg back, but not ask with it. But... even though it was awful and embarassing and it took us sometimes as many as 8 tries to get the proper lead.... Danny never got flustered or worried and kept trying. And he was getting reactive to my leg and trying to go straight into the canter. So there was that! He was trying and getting hotter off my leg. :) The key is to make sure I've got a nice rhythmical walk first. And use my outside leg as a guide, but ASK with the inside leg/seat bone.
So then we started jumping. Ann set up some small verticals with placing poles and wanted me to ride to the placing pole off a square turn. So we started off with 2 square turns and then another square turn right up to the fence. And it went okay. We managed to get over it without too much spazzyness. In fact, it was sort of the opposite. He was nice and quiet and a bit lazy behind. So we got a few times in and I realized that I was soooo not used to him taking off from the deep spot and not launching that I didn't know how to ride that. And I actually NEEDED to close my leg. Hmmm... Interesting. So we added a few more fences, taking away the placing poles at times, and made some bendy lines. And it got better. It is still not beautiful. I realized some good things though...
By riding like that, he was collected and rocked back and able to push off the ground without being spazzy or running. It closed his stride down to a normal stride length which will make the distances easier. And I definitely need to put my leg on at the base. The placing pole was helpful because I had to ride TO the placing pole which meant I didn't have to spazz at the very end and try to create something at the last second. It also typically kept me from abandoning him. So... I think it was a really good thing. It's just hard because it's hard work for us both and it's not smooth and super pretty yet. And it was hard for me to stay with him because I'm so used to the longer leap and therefore, it wasn't as pretty looking. But I think if we stick with it, it'll get nice and pretty and be effective. :)
Jumping the big oxer
Bendy line work