This past weekend I asked my lovely husband if he would come to the barn for my lesson to take some video. Since it had been a while since he stuffed Simon full of treats, he happily agreed. Simon happily ate the treats, and it was okay because we had a pretty nice lesson.
I was happy during the flat warm-up because Simon felt forward and pretty strong. No tripping, no stiffness, no nonsense. Our rides during the week had been a little lack luster, but his mood was so good for the warmup of our lesson that I felt like good things were coming.
The warm-up course was a string of singles with one bending line. I definitely had “first jump itis” and got him to an awful spot, but after that I started counting and my eye got better. For leads I did simples or halts in the corner since we were just starting.
Next course had more bending lines and a one stride to a tight rollback. My eye was pretty good, so I was happy about that but the lead changes were special. Left to right is our hardest, and for this course I couldn’t get him to even do a simple. He was determined to counter canter, so I circled to correct the issue and get him listening again. There was also some cross cantering fun time, but I think that is more of a symptom of him trying but me not being amazing at lead changes more than it is him trying to be naughty. Over the jumps, he was great. We did the ads but I felt like the stride could have been there if I opened him up a bit more.
The third course was the same, only we added the coop before the one stride so that made it a bending line coming into the one stride. Again lead change issues, although this time I got a quick simple change from him going left to right after I asked for the flying and got 0 response. We ended up cross cantering to the bending line coming to the one stride, but overall less “legs everywhere” in this course.
The final course was a bending line, outside four stride (we added the five), tight turn to another bending line and finally another tight turn to another bending line. We were blocked for a portion of the course so I edited it, but he did get a right to left lead change on this course. Also, he finally did a better attempt at the left to right one we struggled with all day. I’m laughing over the last jump of the video because with all the tight turns he just got so excited and would build up speed and fling his head around some. It wasn’t naughty, more exuberance than anything!
Overall, I felt like it was a pretty great lesson. I can tell from the videos that his stride is more open than it was a year ago, and even though the changes aren’t anywhere near perfect… they’re better. He’s also jumping super cute over these 2’0 – 2’6″ jumps, even though in the video he’s mostly just cantering over them. Maybe there is 3′ hope for us yet one day?
For me, I need to stop looking for my leads. Gotta feel them better. Also gotta stop with the chicken arms – that’s a bad habit that I’m trying to beat into submissions… but baby steps. Those are just little things though. The big thing I noticed from the video stills and felt during my ride today is that I need to break at the hip more over the jump and strengthen my core in all. I’m not flying out of the tack (usually… it does happen though) but I am a lot more loosey goosey with my upper body than I’d like before and after the fence.
All in all, pretty happy with the progress and the delightful opportunity to get some video!