This weekend I have 3 lessons with Jonna, and to prepare I have been thinking long and hard about what areas we need help in. I have a flat lesson on Friday, a SJ lesson Saturday and XC Sunday.
XC is easy, we need all the help and confidence we can get. We are going to a different course, so it will be interesting to see how Henry reacts to XC jumps in a new environment. He has going new places down, but new places and XC... we will see! I know he will try his best so it will just be how long it takes him to settle.
Flatwork has been ticking along, I feel like having a break from riding can be a really useful thing. I ride on my own all the time so without eyes on the ground it can be so easy to slip into bad habits. By taking time away both me and the horses have time to let our bodies relax and forget things, so when you get back on you have hit the refresh button and things that your brain said were fine stand out more. One of my really bad habits is leaning forward with my body, and pulling back with my hands. It is a really backwards way to ride and something I think I will spend my whole riding life working to fix. In the last few rides though I have truly felt that I had Henry out in front, I was sitting up and PUSHING Hen into the contact. It was AWESOME.
|I'd love this feeling ALL the time!|
I would like to keep working at this feeling, and ensuring it is equal on both reins. Previously I have struggled with the right rein. I have worked really hard to fix it, and now it's the better rein but the left feels so much worse. I'm not sure if it's worse, or the same but the right rein is better so it feels worse. I need help making both things even, and to take the next step in the training process. I feel like Henry is pretty straight now, so I think we need to revisit laterals. I also need our transitions sharpened and more effective half halts.
I hadn't jumped Henry in about 6 weeks and I thought I should probably revisit it before my lesson and to get a feel for things that need improving. Henry was feeling spooky last night, invisible monsters were out and about apparently, but a tap with the crop to remind him he goes off my leg no matter what was enough to remind him of his job. I had set out 3 jumps across the middle of the arena because with the short days I wanted a quick, simple jump to just get a feel. I started low, trotting into a cross rail. Henry was unimpressed so we picked up canter and he popped it without a second thought.
The whole session was super easy for Henry but I need to remember to ask for a more energetic canter, the stride length is fine but it needs more power and collection. If it felt underpowered I would throw myself at the jump, or interfere too close to a jump and cause a rail. If I asked for the power and maintained it to a jump, it was perfect. Andrew put the jumps up and Henry had no issues with anything, all were jumped politely and neatly unless I interfered. I love how his rhythm is so natural and he never changes it, it makes life so much easier!
The biggest things that needed work were me setting the canter and energy, me sitting up and not throwing us at jumps, and sharpening the aides off my leg and the half halt. I also need to work on landing on the correct lead, i need that burnt into my brain a bit more.
All in all we have a few things to work on but I expect we will do a lot more building in our lessons!
I also get to horse and puppy sit for 2 different people and it's mothers day so it's going to be a busy weekend all round.