I had a really great weekend, despite setting off my air vest for the first time. I managed to squeeze in a jump lesson with Sam on Friday afternoon. We were outside in her giant grass ring. The line set up was a 3 to a 6 to a 4 to a 2. All simple verticals and set on a 12' stride.
We got off to a rough start because I pulled Dee to the base of everything. Sam very tactfully mentioned that we will never hit a 12' stride if I feel the need to pull her down to an 8' one in front of every fence.
When I managed to let go (mostly) and really ride forward the line rode really well. Sam told me that no matter what happened over the fence my job was to push for the 12' (or even bigger) stride as soon as we landed. This way we were set up for success and if I didn't pull Dee was able to just carry it through.
Sam hiked the fences up (she's short, so they always look huge next to her) and we went through once more each way. I managed to ride FORWARD to every fence and even used half halts where they were needed, not just every stride. It was a great place to end it. Sam then told me to go look at the fences. The first was 3'3" and everything else was 3'6"-3'9"!!!
|I love her this much. She tolerates me.|
I have no idea when it happened but I seem to have gotten over my anxiety about jump height. They didn't even look big... Considering that a year ago I was barely getting around a 2'9" course I'm pretty stoked.
Saturday I got to head out to the foothills and trail ride with my mama and a good friend. I love riding with my mom and the weather was perfect, making it a really good day. I think we went about 10 miles in just over 2 hours and most of it was hills.
Sunday I rode in the Training group in a mini XC clinic with Sandra Donnelly. She had brought some of her stadium jumps to the XC course so we could school some super technical things without having to do tons of galloping (the ground is rock hard because it still hasn't rained).
It went amazingly well while we were doing the stuff around the water. We started off just trotting off the bank. Sandra had me shorten my stirrups a hole and all of a sudden I wasn't getting left behind on the first stride after the drop.
|No media from Sunday. So enjoy my superb Paint skillz|
We then moved on to the vertical-2 strides-up bank-two strides-down bank-one stride-vertical. this rode really well for us (especially keeping in mind Sam's advice to really ride the first stride)
Then came the barrels. The orange skinnies in my masterful drawing are two barrels standing upright. We schooled them alone first. Dee ducked left the first time. She was a little surprised and not all that willing. A very aggressive ride on the second approach got us over it.
Next we strung it together as vertical, up bank, down bank, hard 45° turn to the barrel (in one stride) and then around the other way which had the turn to the barrel on two strides. The first time wasn't pretty but we got it done. Sandra got after me for not looking until it was almost too late. The nice thing about it was I was so busy worrying about where we were going that I completely forgot about pulling!
Our next course started out over the barrels into the water, through the water to the oxer on the way out. Left turn to the vertical bank line (straight through). Right turn inside the banks, and jump down into the water and up out of the water to the post and rail. Right turn, big gallop around to a cabin. Then oxer up the bank ramp, of the bank, 2 strides, off the bank into the water, hard right turn out over the barrels.
It all was going fabulously until the big galloping cabin. Here's where the pulling got in my way. I pulled, and I pulled, and I got a really crooked line. And then I looked down. And Dee exited stage left. I popped over her right shoulder, setting off my air vest for the first time. It was a simple fall and I was fine. I did need help to get out of my vest though. It doesn't deflate until the canister is removed and it was so tight I couldn't get the buckles undone.
One of the other riders told me that before her first Prelim she was having a minor freak out on the course walk over a giant table. Someone else told her to "Kick Harder, Think Less". This is my new mantra for XC, possibly for SJ too!
I got myself back on ad we did it again. This time I committed to the cabin (which was bloody huge, it was stamped Prelim) and Dee just popped over it like NBD. Damn pulling!
One of the other horses in our group is super ditchy so we headed over to school the big ditches. Dee couldn't care less so we jumped them both each way and then proceeded up the hill to jump the Training corner and wait out the histrionics of the talented but opinionated mare.
It felt really good to know that we could keep up with a Training/Prelim group and I'm beginning to feel good about our move up. I've got another clinic this weekend and then I'm off to BC for Chase Creek HT and the beginning of our season. If it all goes well we will move up to Training at the first AB event in June.
|All part of the 'Let's Move Up' plan. More to come soon|
Now to find a new cartridge for my vest (apparently everyone's falling off this spring and everyone seems to be sold out).