Sunday, June 22, 2014

And now for something completely different

Well, sort of.

Fawkes and I have had two excellent jumping lessons this weekend and also - gasp - a trail ride!  Holy crap we got out of the ring.

Friday in our lesson, we got very lucky with the weather.  It was mega hot and we were thinking we would have to take it easy, but then a breeze lifted and some clouds rolled in and it was perfect.  We worked on lines over fences and canter transitions.  I didn't have a photographer, but took some jump pictures to show we do occasionally jump things bigger than a bump

About a 2'3" oxer
My big takeaways are 1) don't drop your hands!  I think I am just grabbing mane but instead I collapse forward and then he worries.  He didn't quit at all, but definitely if I need to grab mane I need to go forward, not down.  2) leg on leg on leg on.  Specifically, put leg on whichever way he is bulging and hold it there.  By and large if I keep my hands and eyes up and leg on, he just keeps on trucking.

A 2'3" ish vertical
 At this morning's lesson, we spent a bunch of time on flatwork, which was hard and awesome.  I love how my trainer is always always asking me to work.  I am a terribly lazy creature by nature and will just stagnant.  Trainer R is perfect at being demanding and encouraging at the same time.  So we worked on me keeping correct contact during transitions, telling Fawkes to suck it when he objected to said contact, and to get him responsive off the inside leg.

Then we worked on getting him more sensitive to canter transitions since he is completely happy to ignore my outside leg until he feels like taking off.  My butt was well and truly kicked before we even started jumping.

And just for posterity, other things I am constantly working on:
1) Not posting so far out of the saddle
2) Maintaining the correct bend at my hip
3) Using seat bones appropriately
4) Keeping reins in a fist because apparently I like to live on the edge of Fawkes ripping the reins out of my hand
5) Letting go of the inside rein
6) Not sitting and driving when Fawkes gets wiggly
7) Quiet lower leg (I am not bad here, but can improve)

Just a couple things to work on there.
Cute ears, scary mane

The jumping was straight forward and for once something we picked up quickly  - changing the striding in a line.  So do 6 the first time, 5 the second time, 6 the third time, etc.  We had a really dumb stop at the first cross rail, I just don't think Fawkes was really paying attention and I looked down so it gave him the excuse he needed to just slowly stop.  Duh.

Then we were on.  Collect for the 5, allow for the 6.  R kept moving Fawkes' nemesis - these plank box wooden things which he just doesn't like - closer and closer to the second jump in the line until he finally had to jump them.  I did as I was told - hands up, eyes up, legs on and not pulling in front of the jump.  And he did as he was told, jumped it like a dream.

After the lesson, we took a quick dismount and water break and then went out for an hour trail ride with a friend.  I was amazed at how good he was.  He spooked a couple times, but considering we had to walk through a neighborhood and deal with dogs, bikes, joggers, and weird motorized rafts at the pond we went to, he was spectacular.  Even better than the other horse, which, let's be real, we are usually the worst behaved in any crowd.

I think trail rides are growing on him as he was generally relaxed, willing, and walking out with his head down.  Old Fawkes jigged, skittered, pawed, stopped, half reared, and spun.  Not always and not the whole ride, but even when something scared him today he was able to gather himself together.  This is definitely new for us.  Could not be happier with the horse this weekend!

And to finish, a picture from our hike last week :)


  1. I have the same problem with keeping my fists closed. It sounds like you guys are really truckin in progression!

    1. Why is it so hard to just hold onto the freaking reins??