|good morning :)|
My lesson was bumped to 8:30 on Saturday morning, so I was up at the crack of dawn to feed the horses, turn them out and get Penny loaded up. It was relatively cool in the morning so that was nice for Miss Pen to do some jumping.
We started the lesson over some trot poles and then a small 2ft (if that) waiting line. The focus of our lesson is always my position and use of the aids, and on getting Penny to WAIT to the fences and maintain her pace throughout the course. She has been showing a lot of progress in her flat work and it shows in her jumping. We did the waiting line, trot in and she kept her trot throughout and maintained her rhythm. No breaking to canter at all, some might say that is a miracle! I was able to stay soft and actually ride her through the exercise. Progress.
|ready to rock|
From there Rick set up three bounces to a one stride which we gradually added elements. Same thing, focusing on my position and using my body to slow her rather than going straight to my hands. MY BAD STIFF BLOCKING HANDS. So done with my hands, cut them off already. Anyways as expected, once the jumps got a little bigger Penny was a little less inclined to listen to my waiting cues. Regardless she was jumping well. Rick had me in two point with my thighs feeling the saddle as we approached the gymnastic. You should be able to feel the saddle bump, bump, bump in your thigh while in two point, keep your toes and chin up, hands low and soft and then don't move. Ya know, only like 50 things to remember.
We worked through the gymnastic several times and halted at the end using my body, sitting back and being completely loose and no tension. Sort of like flopping, but not really. It actually worked really well and she was halting a lot quicker. From there we worked on a course, with all the jumps having a 9' rail in front. Allowing her to go to the jump but not get quick or change her pace. This is hard for Penny who just wants to beast mode through everything. When I am correct she wants to move her hind end over so she doesn't have to use herself.
|she's the best|
This brings my other issue which is my hands get wide and my elbows open. Penny sees this as an opportunity to escape out that rein and not stay straight. When I keep my hands together and low, elbows bent but tucked in and elastic, she has no choice but to jump straight and in return this slows her pace as she has to work harder to jump the fence properly. We jumped the course a few times halting, trotting, where needed to regain our straightness and softness. We finished the lesson discussing bits and that I need to try something a bit stronger with Penny. Rick said if I am doing everything correct and the bit is enough to help with my half halt then we should explore something that will help back her off just a tiny bit. In reality if your hands are soft, the bit is only there as a reminder when she runs through my hand.
We are going to try an elevator on the first ring and see what she thinks. Any one have any suggestions for bits? Something soft but strong. She isn't a huge fan of double jointed bits. Right now she is in a happy mouth pelham but the rein on the snaffle ring. I've tried her in a waterford (big no), mullen mouth happy mouth (too soft), and she does like Mylar but it rubs her face. That's the other thing - her skin is super sensitive on her face and most bits rub her. What have you all had luck with?