Friday, February 1, 2013

Smoother jumps

A snowstorm rolled in over the weekend, and a cold snap kept the snow around longer than usual, so my trainer and I didn't trailer my horses over to her barn for a jumping lesson on Panama (and exposure for Rondo) after all -- not because the roads were bad, but because the footing in her barn's outdoor arena was too frozen in the morning to ride and jump on safely.  Instead, we had another jumping lesson on Panama in the indoor arena at my own barn (I've been trying to ride outside more often, but it was really cold and windy Thursday!) and worked more on the figure 8 jump course.

This week my trainer started me out with the jumps a little lower so that I could focus more on the basics, and moved them up to last week's height once I got a little more comfortable with the "course."  She wants me to start being able to eyeball distances and to know whether I need to slow Panama to shorten his strides, or speed him up to lengthen them.  I am not very good yet about eyeballing a distance and knowing how many canter strides it will take, let alone how to pace him, but she assures me it will just take practice.

The one thing I noticed during this week's lesson was how I started out feeling slightly overwhelmed by the figure 8, as I had last week, but by the final few times we did it (with the jumps higher, even), I was starting to feel more secure and move with Panama more naturally over the jumps.  The motion of the jump (my motion) started feeling smoother, and I also stopped feeling like I had to put both hands on his neck and grab mane -- a good thing because I needed to be able to open the outside rein slightly over the jumps to prevent him from turning immediately after the jump, especially when going into his right lead (he has always tended to lean into the turn and cut his corners more in his right lead).  It was a great feeling of accomplishment, but of course I am not jumping very high at this point, maybe 16 or 18 inches.

Even so, I am enjoying myself very much.  I always look forward to these jumping lessons, and although I get very tired during my lessons, they give me a rush that hits afterward and keeps me going the rest of the day!

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