It should be no secret to y’all that my horse and I have some work to do on the flat. How he is easier to jump than he is to hack is a mystery to me for sure! After the last show when I didn’t even try to do the under saddle classes, I knew it was time to get down to business on improving this situation.
When my friend was visiting, she flatted Simon and made him look like a total pro. We also discussed some of the issues I’ve been having and her opinion about where they came from. To me, Simon seems like the more work he gets the more worked up he is. She interpreted this more as being really really “tuned in” to what the rider was doing. Since lord knows I am no pro, it makes sense that when he moves from ‘la la la whatever mode’ to ‘oh I am so listening mode’ the mistakes I make on the flat get exaggerated.
Essentially, I can ride my horse really well when he’s in ‘wtfever I’m a school horse’ mode but not when he’s a ‘sporty sporty sporthorse’.
Even before she rode last week, the plan was to get some private lessons with my awesome trainer to fix my issues. Today was the first of those lessons, and we did a bit of flat and then some jumping.
On the flat, the big take aways I had was that I need to be more versatile with my outside rein. When he wants to drop his shoulder and cut in, I need to move it an inch away from his neck on the outside and ask for the inside bend with my inside leg and rein. When he wants to bulge to the outside in a turn, I need to use that rein to block the shoulder and hold him in.
Otherwise it was a lot of the invaluable advice you get from a private lesson. Put your leg here. Open your shoulders now. The quick advice was really helpful for me, and will give me some things to work on when I hack on my own.
So for now the plan is for my hack days to ride Simon like I really mean it. WIth contact, lots of corners and lateral work and bending. I need to stop babying him every ride and pretending he’s a school horse, because he’s not a school horse and he isn’t going to magically have the buttons I need at the show if I don’t work to put them on him!
I’ll leave y’all with a photo that I’m absolutely in love with. We had a family photo shoot with Simon, Tim and myself Sunday afternoon and I’m so thrilled. Will share all the details in a post next week when I get all the pictures! I’m on vacation from Weds – Sunday so have some fun posts in the queue for y’all.