Here there be dragons...

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Perfect practice makes perfect

woohoo!!! More Truly Intelligent People!!! hahaha is it sad that that's a highlight to my day? But there are sooooo many *stupid* people we all have to deal w/ that increasing numbers of intelligent people SHOULD be celebrated! Or that's my take on it anyways :)

So jump school today was one of the most challenging I've ever had -- and the fences were tiny. 4 riders @ 4 diff levels -- from child on pony doing grasshopper to child's father doing prelim. Inbetween were RC who's about E level right now and the fourth horse is solid at T. Everybody did the same lesson -- although it was interesting to see how much harder he was on the two of us who are working there *g* Little pony did the course @ about 1'6. RC and T horse @ 2'6, P horse @ 2'9. So clearly height was not the challenge of the day.

Theory (in pt form cause we've done most of this b4):
- everything depends on the quality of the canter. Must create/maintain speed, balance and impulsion. (any of this sounding familiar?)
- should practice said canter in the flat work -- this is the point of dressage.
- 3 stages to a jump (this is based on George Morris): 1st stage is creating the canter, 2nd stage is seeing/riding the spot, 3rd stage is jumping the fence. Denny also suggests that in reality there's often a Stage 0 - where the horse is long/flat and in cruising and/or speed mode before you enter phase 1. The problem that occurs is that people try to combine phases 1&2 (create the canter and find a spot at the same time) and end up w/ neither.
- you have to practice to get good at it. This is one of those blatantly obvious things we all tend to forget.
- school little jumps for 3 reasons: easier on the horse so can do it more, less intimidating for the rider so more likely to do it correctly, if you do screw up - and you will - it's less catastrophic. hahaha

So our course had 11 fences -- most of the scary stuff has been put away for the winter (we leave in 18 days! Not that I'm counting or anything :) so nothing really *looky* to the fences, and as has already been stated, they were small. Now the only interesting thing is it was very much of what my students quasi-affectionately refer to as a "Lauren Course" hahaha and will know exactly what I mean by that. For those who haven't had the pleasure -- it's *very* twisty, with lots of turns in directions you wouldn't usually expect, and lots of related distances. So basically you have to think while you ride.

Still np right -- I mean seriously, not that big a deal, esp when the fences are tiny.

Here's the minor catch -- every fence had to be perfect. That's all.

Pace (broken down into speed/balance/impulsion) had to be perfect (on the horse who's still not strong enough to maintain it -- although rapidly getting better! I love TBs :). Uphill canter, butt under him, while maintaining enough speed (but not too fast!!! Damn!), etc etc

Path -- this was not such a prob, except on one S type line w/ only 3 strides between each fence, where we jumped in too big on fence 1 and *really* overdid the curves to get the other 2 fences *g* hahaha 2nd try was better. And oh yeah -- make sure you get the perfect spot every time while you're at it. This is non-negotiable.

Position -- *always* has to be perfect. This, unfortunately, includes "shorten your reins" hahaha Did make it around more than 1/2 the course w/o being told that though, so that's progress *g* It was every 2 or 3 strides the first week.

Basically the quality of the canter he wants is such that whether the fence is 6 inches or 6 feet, the horse could jump it. *That* balanced and rocked back on the hocks. And he says it's a real problem how many riders are doing prelim/int and even adv who can't jump around a 2'6 course perfectly. Too many people skip this step because it's *hard*. Hard to do and hard to teach. So they buy really expensive horses that'll do the job for them and put the fences up so the horse does it right out of self-preservation. "oh but the fences have to be bigger to back my horse off/for him to jump well/etc etc..." *substitute your own excuse here* -- we've all said it :) Well except maybe the DQs *g* I'm not quite sure what their equivalent would be -- suggestions??? hahaha anyways -- his point is that if that's true, you're relying on the fence to do YOUR job for you, so you don't have to ride properly. Said you should be able to create and maintain that canter regardless of height.

Did think that was a pretty good point (although I've certainly never been in a position to ride a horse that'd do it for me!!! I can dream though! Wait -- I don't think that was *exactly* what we were supposed to take from that :) hahaha

Now all that being said and done -- he did make a point to say that jumping little fences ALL the time isn't going to cut it -- you and your horse both have to get comfortable w/ height. Just that the majority of your schooling can be done low, so long as you insist that what you do, you do perfectly. Essentially 10 mins of perfect practice is better than 10h of *whatever*.

I had a thing up in my apt @ home that said "Expect Perfection, Tolerate Excellence" hahaha well apparently that's just not going to cut it here :) But hey, maybe I'll learn to ride a little. *g*


Hey Lauren, You are now riding like a jumper. I knew we could convert you. On second thought, I'm coming down there for lessons!


Hmmm... quality of the canter... hmmm... and that's all I will say!!!



hahaha D I would LOVE to ride like a jumper in stad -- I just don't want to compete in it :)

And while we're at it I want to ride like a DQ in dressage -- but I don't want to compete in that either :)

You should SOOOOOO come down!!! Bring P to "adult camp" in March! (@ least I think it's in March) OMG we'd have sooooo much fun!!!

hahaha and how IS your pony's canter these days Jen?


Oh would put that thought in my mind. Now I REALLY want to go! What a blast that would be!
hhmmm, hubby does vegas every year with his buds, do you think I could get the same deal for adult camp??? much is adult camp?


ABSOLUTELY you should get the same deal!!!! hahaha

hmmm camp is not cheap -- I think it's about $1400... But hey, it's not like you go every year right?

omg D you should soooo come. And you could totally crash w/ me wherever I end up living!


sooo a "lauren course" eeeeh? PAYBACK!!!! mwa haha :P altho i expect first lesson back you'll be setting that course for us...GREAT haha


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