Or.. my brain back. :) Seriously.. I've missed it! I'm guessing the stress of Fleck, Mike, etc... really messed with my brain more than I thought. I had a lesson with Beth today and after the first few minutes, I thought... MY BRAIN IS BACK!! I CAN THINK AGAIN!!! It wasn't anything earth shattering but I just felt like I could actually focus and do what she said and think and act... not just dumbly sit up there and let things happen. I'm not saying I didn't make mistakes, because I did, but... it was nice to not be a slug up there.
We had a jump lesson and I told Beth that while I realized it was the canter that was the problem... I wanted to do a course lesson because I wanted to do well at Pine Top. And she pointed out that they tended to ride big and forward, but connected forward, not strung out and on the forehand forward. So.. that's what we did. And it was SOOOOOO helpful!
It's crazy how the phrasing can change things. Basically... I had to ride a canter lengthening and then shorten his neck. Beth said ultimately, what I was accomplishing was putting him on the bit while keeping the forward, but... when she told me to put him on the bit.. I didn't accomplish that. This did. So... whatever works. :) It was a great canter!
We started our lesson by getting our canter. Beth had me canter on a circle and then lengthen. Then she told me to bring him back. Then lengthen him again but shorten his neck at the same time. I had to ride T-Rex style... keeping my elbows to my side and not giving. And... when I did that... OH MY!! His canter!!! It rocked back and got uphill and powerful!!! It got "Big Boy" cantery!!! Oooohhhh.... I can see how that is the canter you want when you jump!! So then we started to jump. She said that she wanted to see me get my canter on my own and then go jump. She told me three fences to jump and then let me do my thing. It actually went okay. So then we tried again and it fell apart. She said that I never got the neck shortened. So.. we realized that I have to do the exact sequence (for now at least)... I have to get a canter.. then lengthen... then shorten his neck while shortening the canter.. and then lengthen again while shortening the neck. Then, and only then, I have the canter!!
We did a few courses and it was sooooo much better!! We even did the same line we had soooooo much trouble with the last time. And this time, It felt like I had 20 more strides in between.. I had so much time! It really was amazing the difference it made. And it wasn't perfect. We had a few issues. And in the lines, I let him get a bit more long in the neck and not quite so collected, but.. it still worked. And... AND!!!! I was able to see the distances! Which is because the canter was correct. And not only could I see the distances, I could see whether I needed to hold or leave and had time to react and make my body cooperate to allow us to do that! It was AWESOME! We did a couple of courses and fixed a few little tweaks and then.. we both started to get tired. So we had a few more bobbles, but then we fixed it. Oh, and we even had a TERRIBLE approach to the skinny chevron where I basically asked Dan to angle the skinny. He looked at it and then thought "nope, she can't be asking me to do that" and then I said "Yes please" and bless his heart... he tried... but he basically chested the standard and fell over it as it fell. I mean, he remained upright, but it came down. Poor guy. I felt so bad! After that, Beth walked the line for me. Ohhhhhh..... yeah.. that's not how I rode it. :( She said there was plenty of time for a square turn, whereas I was more just... angling it on a straight line. Doh!! But we came right back to it and I rode it much better but he just popped right over it like it didn't just bite him. What a good boy!
So yep... Ahhhhh.. it feels so good to not be such a disaster! Hopefully we can maintain that :) And hopefully we'll get to ride again before Pine Top. It's supposed to rain for days... and then more days...