Today, after what seems like eons of riding in the indoor due to an unfortunate combination of my crazy work schedule and the monsoons we’ve been having all spring/summer, I finally got to have a jump lesson up in the big ring, over the fancy new jumps that got painted for the Jumpalooza the other weekend.
The flat warmup went nicely enough, except for the fact that Cally was just livid about all the bugs that were harassing her. I put bug spray on her before walking up to the ring, but obviously not enough, or the wrong kind, or it doesn’t really do anything for more than 30 seconds after application anyway. I should have put on her little bug hat, because very time we walked, she was flinging her head around like a crazy thing, trying to get rid of them. But other than that, she felt great.
We started off trotting over a little crossrail, then moved to a gate, then tried combining the two withe a canter in between. That got fast, rushy, and flat, which led to a pulled rail. (She had some red toenail polish after the lesson.) We came back around a few times, coming back to a quiet trot in between, making me sit up and her relax.
After a little walk break, we did a vertical to vertical line a few times. The first time through, I got up over her neck over the first fence and we ended up rushing and getting crooked down the line, and I got left like nobody’s business over the out. UGLY. Next time through was better, but still not the steady, consistent striding we want–there was a steady 4 and a chipping 5th stride squeezed in. However, the fact that she’s doing the chip rather than taking the flyer on 4 is big progress, and I’m happy with that. Then I worked on really sitting up over and after the first fence, and what do you know, steadier strides.
Then we moved on to a longer line across the diagonal, an airy oxer to a vertical with a flowerbox under it. First time in it felt good and steady to the oxer with a canter I really liked, but I got forward and she pulled about halfway down the line, and it felt like we were flying out of it. Back to the flyer–no good! I came again, and big surprise, when I sat up more after the first fence, she got steadier, and we got the chip that time, rather than the flyer. Once more, and it felt pretty steady, but not perfect.
Good enough to put it all together, though. The turns really worked to make me sit up, and we balanced pretty nicely through those. I just need to remember to sit up and as nicely down the lines to steady her so we don’t get flat and rushy. But wow, is she a blast to jump when we do get it all right!
When I sat up and thought about what I was doing and where we were heading, it all felt easy. I just need to get to the point that I’m doing that all the time, rather than la-la-la-ing around out there, letting her take care of things.