|the lady doth learneth|
It's been quite the week. I have been studying for an exam in my profession and I finally wrote yesterday afternoon. There hasn't been much pony time the last few weeks in the final stretch of my studying. I finally feel like I have my life back now that its over! On top of that I actually accepted a position at a new job, so I have been dealing with leaving my current one and getting ready for the new one. Everything is in order now though, so I can get back to what I really want to be doing, and that is riding.
I snuck out Sunday afternoon to have a jumping lesson with V. I was on the fence if I should go because I really should have been studying, but really, who can turn down a jumping lesson on a gorgeous Sunday? I had a really good ride earlier in the week on Miss Pen so I was hoping she would be on her best behavior. Video from our flat ride.
|that carrot face though|
We started the lesson with a short warm up and got to work trotting down the long side over three poles then several trot strides over a single rail. Eventually the rail would be a fence. We did this several times in each direction. Like our last lesson, V had me allow Penny to maintain a bigger stride so she didn't have to struggle over the poles. Basically Penny doesn't maintain the rhythm when you half halt. She listens but speeds up again. It's a work in progress, but I obviously have a habit of holding her most of the time because of this. We are trying to retrain my riding and her.
I make sure not to let the corner take too much away from her. I have to trust her to maintain the trot and not run off after the poles. I allow her to have a bigger trot with short reins and very soft hand. She was really good through this exercise and you can see she is starting to figure things out (me too). We added the fence at the end, with a 5 stride waiting line. I had to give her a hard half halt only once this lesson, which, hey, its an improvement. My focus was not taking back and shortening her into the first fence so she feels like she has to gun it down the line. She was jumping in fairly quiet and only rushing the last stride before the pole at this point.
Once we could navigate this successfully, we added another x rail, so we jump in, 2 strides, then 3 strides over the pole at the end which was lowered again. She was being adorable and at every halt checking herself out in the mirror in front of her. We then added the third jump in the line. We played with how much I can let go, and how I still have to give little half halts to prevent her from rushing the last stride or two. She does need to learn to keep the same pace without this, but she is not there yet. Right now it is walking that fine line of too much and not enough hand.
To finish, we did the gymnastic, halted, picked up canter and cantered down over the diagonal, then around to a waiting 5 stride line, and back across to another vertical on the diagonal. This actually went pretty well, and we finished the lesson on a pretty much perfect fence down the diagonal after doing the course a few times. V asked me, why can't all the fences be jumped like that? Good question V, good question LOL.
|Penny watching, and listening.|
Some takeaways from my lesson; keep working on a soft hand, Penny has to learn to maintain her pace without needing to be half halted or held. I need to keep working on sitting better to the fences and keeping my hands low and soft. The best takeaway of the day is that I realized how rideable and mobile Penny is becoming since I have really made a program with her and stuck to it. She can do these courses, with lots of transitions, changes, small turns etc very effortless now and before just cantering a circle was a bit of a struggle. I am really excited about how strong she is becoming and very pleased it is still early in the winter at this point.
We have another lesson this Sunday, so excited for more fun stuff!