Steer with the Outside Rein!
After we went XC on Sunday I felt like I needed to have another jump to remind myself not to ride like a nana. So with Friday being my day off and the weather looking perfect I booked a lesson, probably my last one for the year as next week is going to be rather hot.
Henry wasn't overly fussed at being pulled out of the paddock and put on the float at 6.30 in the morning but he was pleased to see his breakfast when we got there! I wasn't sure if I would have fresh Henry or normal Henry given the early hour and his day off on Thursday but we had normal Henry who I had to wake up a bit as I warmed up.
I made sure to get him moving forward off my leg as we warmed up, and that he was nice and adjustable. All that came very quickly which I was pleased about things are staring to happen faster. I also did a lot of two point as I have been finding that really helps with my position in the lesson, it just seems to get everything war, and loose ready to work.
As always we started over poles, we just trotted twice each ay before picking up canter. It took us about 3 goes off the right rein and only twice off the left rein to be straight, forward and accurate though the poles and I was pleased with how much better everything is feeling. it was out up to a jump with placing poles and again everything went quite smoothly with me just needing to be reminded to wait until I see a spot to turn. That just means that I make a more accurate turn with my leg on out of the turn, rather than turning late most of the time. It's an excellent way to get to a good take off spot and I am getting better with it each time we jump.
We added in an oxer on a 4 stride related line, and I just let Henry flow down to it, though he was drifting left. Bec had me think about riding more to the right, which meant I used my left aides and we were straight.
Next we did a canter pole to an oxer off the other rein and that needed me to set up early and then leave him alone. I actually didn't do too badly at that, the first time though I needed to ride forward out of the turn better, but it wasn't even that bad. It just all happened as it should. From there we strung the three jumps together before practicing a bending line.
The bending line required me to have a quiet but powerful canter to the first jump then wait to make my turn to see the takeoff spot for the second jump. We got it done the first time but it was a bit all opver the place, I needed to have a more square turn to the first fence. I started again, first making sure the canter was just right before making a square turn, jumping, landing, looking and using my outside aides to turn to the second fence. We had some really good efforts over it, and then we went through a course.
the first time through was quite good, I just stuffed up the very last jump by shooting my body forward at the last second. It was annoying because I was thinking to myself on the approach not to do it, but it just goes to show how hard wired habits can be. We repeated the last fence, I sat still and Henry flew over perfectly.
It was a brilliant lesson to finish the year on, Henry feels so confident and consolidated. For me it really clicked how much I need my outside aides to turn and how much straighter it made us. I was very conscious to give the inside as soon as I had asked for anything and I think Henry was grateful for that. I love lessons, love the improvements we make, and we both especially love show jumping. It's just so much fun!