There are good lessons because your horse is fantastic, and then there are bad lessons because your horse is not fantastic. I didn’t have either of those lessons last night. I had the lesson where your horse is mostly game for what we’re trying to do, but the rider is not making his job easy. By not making it easy, I really mean thumping on his back while trying to step up to bigger jumps. Here’s a dramatic visual to what it felt like:
Here’s what it actually looked like:
I know right now you’re saying, “Stop being so hard on yourself! That doesn’t look bad!” and it really doesn’t look bad. Especially my Simon pants, he looks like a rock star! The picture doesn’t tell the whole story, so my awesome trainer took a few videos which I will share with you.
The videos tell the story a little better.
Basically my biggest problem is I’m not used to jumping bigger jumps, especially longer ones like this oxer. I think I’ve kind of taught Simon to not jump across very much, instead he jumps up and down and has gotten very used to doing the ads.
The result is a kind of short strided Simon, and when we’re doing a gymnastic like this he isn’t jumping far enough across the jumps. So instead of each spot being perfect (like gymnastics are supposed to be), he gets a little bit longer distance each time and then it’s harder for him to get out over the last one. My trainer asked to apply some leg and kiss, which helped but I wasn’t fantastic at my timing.
Our other problem is that since I’m not used to jumping this size, my position is all willy nilly. I get jumped out of the tack… a lot. I also am not breaking down as well over the fence. My trainer advised me to basically break down into my two point in the beginning and stay there so I didn’t start sitting up mid jump (see video). When I tried that, I wasn’t able to keep my leg on and get him over the jump so he started adding before the oxer.
It was kind of a mess.
By the end I was getting jumped out of the tack so much that my horse took matters into his own hands and squished two of the teeeny tiniest canter strides ever into a shortened (trainer brought the oxer in a bit) one stride. In my opinion, he did the add because he thought it would keep me from falling off or at the very least from flopping on his back. It didn’t.
So in the end I was very frustrated at myself, but I can’t say it was a bad lesson. We discovered a lot of short comings in both me and my horse (mainly me) that I am going to have to figure out how to overcome.