Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Rethinking the Football Career

Alright so sometimes you just need somebody on the ground.

Riding around warming up, pony's being good. Coach shows up. I lead strong "so our flat work's been brilliant" (no point in modesty :) and then balance it out "but it would seem I'm entirely incapable of jumping a fence." hmmmm problem. He, understandably, asks for more detail *g* after which it's "well we'll start with flat and go from there". Ok. Watches for a few minutes with a couple random comments, but not nearly the usual rapid-fire corrections. "She's going really well!" (should I be offended by the surprised tone? hahaha I TOLD him our flat work was brilliant. hahaha I do actually know how to evaluate these things. Unfortunately I also know how to evaluate our jumping.) So flat work basically gets skipped and we go straight to jumping.

"Between the two of us, we can only do one phase well per day." (hence why we're not eventing yet)

"You're going to prove yourself wrong now."

"Well I really can't lose then can I? Either I'm right, or I ride incredibly well. I'm ok with either of those." hahaha got quite the look for that one. Anyways, no surprise he sets up our "when all else fails" exercise. Pole, vert, pole. Sienna's been doing this since the brilliance or disaster days when ANYTHING was worthy of a 4' jump or crashing straight through. Anyways, point being by now she can do that gymnastic in her sleep and it allows both of us to get a feel for each other.

So we jump it. "Wasn't *that* bad" Felt horrible. Pony was a saint. Ok well try it again the other direction and focus on A.

Jump it again. Slightly better. Still bad. Do it again the other direction, focus on B.

Rinse and repeat till you get to about M :)

Ok so finally we're getting there reasonably consistently and I'm doing a better job of pretending I know how to ride. Sienna's still willing to give me glimpses of that amazing canter from the other day so that makes for some pretty incredible jumps.

Get a couple reasonable ones, both directions, that I was happy w/ (for both me AND Si :). Done right? Yeah no. Not so much. Now do the same gymnastic but off a significantly tighter turn. Great.

Now, on the plus side, I ride much better off a turn - always have. Turning can see my spot 8-10 strides out consistently and hit it fairly accurately. Straight, less good *g* Tricky part is, my horse has only gained the strength and the balance to make that kind of turn in the last few weeks. And that's just on the flat :) So making that turn while keeping enough impulsion and balance to jump is a bit of an art. But she did it :) 1st time, just about perfect (everything beautiful except landed on the wrong lead). 2nd time, not so hot. 3rd time perfect again - with the lead this time :)

Change direction. *sigh* This way we have serious issues with an outside drift that I've only *just* (like as of last week's lesson) been starting to get the hang of correcting (buttons in strange places on this horse -- it took us a few weeks to find them :). So it took a few tries to get it right here, but eventually we did.

Ok done right?

Comeon, you're not new here.

No, now we continue this game but instead of just making the tight turn TOO the fence, we're also going to make the tight turn AFTER the fence to a rollback. 1st time - perfect. Absolutely text-book perfect. Luck. 2nd time - perfect. Fluke. 3rd time - perfect. Skill. Not a fluke. I was ecstatic!

But that's not enough. Change direction. So now we're jumping the "new" fence first and rolling-back the other way to the original fence. On the plus side, this turn is the easier one. On the down side she's going to drift into it over the fence leaving less space for the turn. This is what I was thinking while planning my line. What I didn't plan on was leaving a stride n a half out, being left way behind, and landing flying. Boooo. Didn't even attempt the turn.

2nd try. Still left stupidly long. Still left behind - but this time I slipped my reins a ton so @ least superpony didn't get snagged for it. Then in true eventer style (like as in the reason we have a bad rep) made the turn with reins 8 miles too long and riding way behind the motion; DID at least get her to balance up the stride before the fence and the second fence was ok.

3rd try. This time got in super-deep (just for varieties sake) and cut way inside in the air (that's an impressive if somewhat scary trick). Basically did the Western spin thing to get her to the next fence, also super-deep. Ugh.

4th try. This time we *finally* managed it with some semblance of confidence and coordination. Jumped the first one on stride, landed in balance, made the turn correctly, and landed... On the off lead. So close.

5th try. We finally did it right. There are only TWO fences involved in this remember. Sad, very sad. But fwiw - when it was right, it was amazingly right :)

For some reason my coach didn't ask me to do it again. Perhaps not positive it wasn't a fluke? >;-P hahaha or should we put it down to the fact that my horse had been jumping for a very long time by this point and had earned the right to be done :) I like that idea better.

So my coach always offers my pony a mint after the lesson. Today he turned and offered it to me instead *g* hahaha got a good laugh out of that.

And we're good to go again :)


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