Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jumping lessons and equitation torture

After managing 5 days in a row of riding, I didn't even get to the barn again until this morning for my first jumping lesson at the new place.  Thanks work, feel free to stop eating into my play time any day now.  

Although I did also sneak in a showing of Spamalot, which I do not regret at all. Love Monty Python.

Barn cat wonders why I thought an early Sunday lesson was a good idea
Anyways, horse stuff.  Got to the barn this morning early because I thought it would be wise to run him after not riding for several day.  Managed to get to his run just as they were graining him.  Of course.  Nothing quite so fun as standing around in 20 degree weather watching your horse eat but I wanted his good will so I allowed it.

Giraffe horse shows off his skills at getting above the bit
Did a quick turn out in the ring and then there was a lot of excitement tacking up as morning barn is very different than evening barn and Fawkes doesn't appreciate change.  Ack! A tractor!  On no, someone is dragging the ring!!  What the crap is that guy doing with that bucket???  Etc.  By the time I got him into the ring he was frazzled and I was irritated.  Not the best start.

Luckily jumping trainer, R, was unphased by silly orange horse antics and helped us both relax.  Since it was our first lesson, she pretty much just wanted to see where we are and start working on the little (unending list of ) things that I can improve. 

 For example, I ride with my hands pretty low.  She wanted my hands higher, which Fawkes immediately took as a cue to stick his head as high as possible.  So we worked on me keeping my hands higher and Fawkes still realizing it is his job to stretch over his back into the contact.

It is a different way of going for both of us, so it will take some getting used to, but besides being a little confused Fawkes didn't object so that was good.  
I like how he is moving here, he looks soft and relaxed

We rock the pile of poles test
We did canter work and incorporated  trot poles, and then started going over some little jumps.  

Oh yeah, and it turns out I have basically been telling Fawkes to jump the poles with my body and if I am quiet instead he just goes over them nicely.


I liked pole jumping horse.

Continuing the theme started by my last jumping lesson (at the old barn), we focused on my position over fences.  R's way was to tell me to think about keeping more bend in my knee, and I like that mental image so I will practice with that.  
I don't even know what is happening here, but it is pretty funny.

Fawkes was utterly focused on his job by this point and was really trying to do as asked.  He was also definitely happy to be jumping again even if he was less thrilled by R's requests that we maintain a rhythm and don't just run at fences (also something that came up at the last lesson).  

TB's do it better and faster

By the end of the lesson, Fawkes and I were both very tired.  I am not sure how minor position adjustments take so much out of me, but they really do.  Quick video of us going down the line.  I messed up going in, but we got it together to get out at least.

Very happy with the lesson, I think I rode well and Fawkes was able to come back to me after a rough start.  R really likes him and I liked her teaching style, so hopefully we can stay on a positive path.  And start jumping a little bigger.  Maybe one day even ride outside!

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