I told Kelly what was going on and she was game to help. We started off by working on my position just a little bit.It wasn't great starting off, but it wasn't quite as bad. We did the whole "drop your stirrups and hold the saddle" thing for the first one, and then she let me have my stirrups back. She was laughing at me because I kept grabbing the saddle with one hand. But it helped. But then I was coming up too quickly so... we finally found some wording that seemed to work for me. And it's not the "perfect picture" that I want, but.. it's much better. And like Kelly said... "If you improve 1% every day, in 100 days you'll be 100% improved!". So.. yeah. We'll go with that. So... not saying that his is how everyone should aim to ride, or even that this is how Kelly actually wants me to ride. But this is how I have to phrase it in my brain to make my body cooperate, and at least cooperate to the point of improvement, even if it means we over do it and then have to back it back down a bit. Cause... that's just how I roll. :)
- As I jump, push my feet out in front of me (landing gear). And then as I land, push them even farther out in front of me (more landing gear).
- As I land, think of pushing my shoulders away from my hands, which are on his neck.
And in the meantime, my homework is to pop over small fences at home and practice grabbing the saddle and keeping my butt closer to the saddle. So... drop my stirrups and feel the swoop in my pelvis and the opening of my hips.
Then we discussed the whole slipping issue and my confidence and me freaking out. And we discussed the whole "right canter" for the jumps and how I was either running him at things or shutting him down. So... Kelly asked me what I thought the perfect canter was. And then basically told me to stop "dressaging (Ie..overthinking)" jumping and just jump. Well, not exactly but.. pretty much. She said he didn't have to be super round and on the bit as long as he was balanced and most importantly.. if I said Go.. he went... immediately. And if I say Whoa.. he whoa-ed, immediately. So... we started off in a happy hunter canter and she said to get 1 mph more speed and it would be fine. BUT.. to make sure that he stayed in front of my leg. She saw when he got behind my leg and told me to fix that. We talked about how I wanted him to jump round and not roll over his shoulder and that I felt like the "huntery" canter was him loping around and just cantering over fences. She said that whatever we did today, which in my mind was almost the huntery canter but with a bit more oomph, was fine. He was jumping well and not once did he roll over his shoulders. She said he tended to rotate his scapulas and shoulders well but wasn't as snappy with his knees... like EVERY EVENT HORSE. She said he didn't need to be snappy with his knees and that he was actually jumping quite nice. So.... okay. And to be honest, he felt a bit more... jazzy today. Not quite as behind my leg, but he wasn't really gunning for the fences at the last minute either. It was quite nice. I felt like I could move him up to the distance when I needed and yet I could also hold. However, when I held... I needed to keep a bit more leg on him because he wasn't terribly "oofy" but it wasn't as smooth as I wanted.
So.... it was a little bit of working on me but also working on the canter. We did a few mini courses and it wasn't terrible. When it wasn't spot on to the distance, I got a bit more "standy" in my stirrups, but... when it was good, it wasn't too bad. There was actually some decent ones. And they weren't tiny fences either. We even jumped the chevron with the rainbow carpet on it as an oxer. And Dan sort of backed off of it a little but I closed my leg and he took it. A little long, but he took it.
So yeah.. It was a good lesson. I'm still a little mortified about how emotional (I didn't cry but I was close to it) I got and how I almost got myself too freaked out about it to jump. Once I got going, it was okay but I was way more apprehensive than I thought I would be starting out. Sigh... I talked to Caroline though and she was so sweet. She told me that I looked great and had she not heard me tell Kelly about the slipping and the fall last weekend and how I was all freaked out, she would never have known. She said that she understood... it was a lot of pressure. Here I am... on a horse that is way more talented and capable, and certainly more sound, with much more potential than Fleck... and the expectations were high. Add to the mix that we're so noticeable and that everyone knows us... and it's a lot of pressure. Then she reminded me that it's been awhile since I've run prelim and it's easy to lose your nerve when you aren't jumping that high. So yep... basically I've just got to get my prelim panties back on. :) ha ha.. It helped a lot though. She said she had the same similar baby nervous breakdown about jumping I was, but she just kept going and got through it. She said it wasn't always pretty, but.. it was better. So that helped a lot.
And we also went on a short hack and did some hills for a few minutes with Phoebe. Dan was good. The goats were out and he was actually quite brave about them. And then.. the guard dog wagged his tail and Dan got all spooky! Ha ha... Seriously?! :) Gorgeous day though.
Hopefully Sunday will go well too!