Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Even hotter and even higher...

We had our lesson set for Tuesday at 6:30pm. Unfortunatley along with the first day of summer, we got our first day of 100 degree heat! Ugh. I guess the lessons were pretty consistantly going long since several riders almost passed out, and there were lots of extra breaks added in for both horse and rider. We stood in the shade for a while since the previous lesson was still going on, and probably didn't get on until 6:45. It was still in the upper 90's!

We stuck with the usual plan, I warm up and try her over a few fences that so that both Lola and I can feel happy and confident. Then I push her a little over new thing. Then the trainer gets on to actually push her over the new thing, as in help her to do it correctly and not just well enough to get our butts over it!

We started with the same gymnastic that we ended with last time. It came right back to her no problem, easy and fun. Then we started a line of three fences. This was a little trickier for her. We trotted through the first time...sort of turned into the trot, trot, boing! But she was steady through. Then we trotted in and pushed to keep the canter through. Then we cantered in. This is tricky for us. The second two fences should be easy because the strides are set, the problem is hitting that first fence right! Lola is still learning her comfortable take-off spot and when we haven't set a gymnastic or pole in front of the fence she's got more to figure out. This also can make or break the next two fences! We were a little funky through it. I forgot to ask someone to video, so I'm not sure just what happened. I think she took off from a long spot at the first fence, so of course she made her two strides to the next fence only to find that she was a little long to that fence too, then one stride and, yep, still a long spot to the third. Here's the great thing though. She tends to figure things out pretty quick, if she takes the long spot the first time, she'll try again and end up coming in to close to the fence and brushing, and then the third time she gets somewhere in between. She troubleshoots! I like it. The nice thing is that we can just let her figure it out. I sit quiet and encourage her to stay straight and move forward, but otherwise stay out of her way. She keeps going, and regardless of how funky it feels or ends up, she always tries, and she's always game to come back and try again.

By this point I was feeling like a floppy sack of potatoes up there. I'm pretty sure if she had chosen to stop, duck out or anything like that I would have quickly been mashed potatoes! I think by then I had boiled in my own sweat! So I opted to hand her off to the trainer pretty early on. I did remember to get the video camera then. So the rest I got pictures or video of!

She warmed up over the same gymnastic from the tight turn. Lola was looking pretty good.

She moved on to the line she looked great going this direction, I believe it was her first time through. Of course I started to get confused on my zoom and screwed up the video trying to figure it out! Whoops.

We also bumped the fences up a bit to around 2'3" or 2'6". She was getting tired at this point but still was willing to work her little butt off! I can't post all the videos because of the size, but I've taken some cute still shots from the videos.

009 @ 2

011 @ 7

007 @ 9

Of course with the heat and the work she was dripping with sweat! But the trainer did comment on how quickly she seemed to recover. She was right, it really didn't take much to get her respiration under control.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jump lesson

Jumping exercise from our last lesson!

This video is of what we ended on for me, and I was pleased as punch with it!

We finally got back to the eventing trainer that we worked with last fall. I like her a lot, and she competes at a really high level so I'm actually really lucky to have the chance to ride with such a talented trainer! I just have to catch her when she's not off at a competition! So for now we're making it work by doing Tuesday evening lessons.

She immediately commented how much better Lola's trot looked. (Also something my dressage trainer has been commenting on lately, she actually has some nice suspension when she trots now!) She made me redo at least one of my canter transitions. I know they suck, and I know that I need to ride her correctly and expect nothing but correct transitions, but I just tend to let it slide...not acceptable!

We worked on a cross rail first. Trotting in and then turning right even though it was fairly sharp. She did this so that we could get Lola's attention right away, she had to sit back and re-balance herself to make the turn.

Then we switched directions and cantered in. Lola was such a star! I was surprised how easy and fun it was to canter the fences! I just planted my hands on her neck a few strides out, which meant asking her to finish her turn with my body only, and she want through just fine! She didn't rush, we had a pole on the ground to help back her off, she only got funky striding a few times, and then she figured it out and her jump got noticeably better when she jumped from the base of the jump. I could actually feel the difference!

Then we moved on to the exercise in the video up top. We of course started by trotting in the first few times, then came the fun of cantering in! Since it was down the center of the rather small arena, this meant really hard turns! At least hard for me and Lola at the canter. We made it though! Never missed it once. She really just locked on to the jump after the turn, so even if we came out pretty wide, she'd move through the gymnastic a little off center but stay straight and true through the jump! Such a good girl. By the last time I realized that I should have asked her to video this! Whoops. So we just got the last go.

She brushed fence in that first time in the video, which I thought was funny since it didn't seem like she was rushing. When I went to look at the video, this was why:

She didn't jump the two raised poles! She just cantered right through, and so she actually had her back legs split going over each pole! So she brushed. But the jump actually looking great in a still!

Then I had the trainer hop on. I think this will be really helpful to have her school her a little each time to sort of clean up a few things that I tend to leave messy. (Canter departs for example "du jour".) She was getting tired by then since the weather decided to make a sudden change for the upper 90's! But she tried her little heart out anyway. One of the things that she really worked on was the turn. Lola had done them alright for me, but I think that both Lola and I were convince they were too hard, so the trainer was able to school her on them and convince her that she could turn tighter and re-balance! She also stopped her after the jump instead of cantering on like I had. This totally confused Lola the first time! She tried left, then tried right, then desperately tried left again, but the fence was there, so she stopped. Next go, she got it a little better. By the third go, she had stopped perfectly about 1o feet before the fence! Got it!

She is such a sweet little star. Despite the fact she literally had sweat dripping off her nose, she was trying her best, and even cantered perfectly through on the last go even though it was hard for her and she was tired.