A jumping lesson for Henry
Wow, I have so many half finished drafts, but I haven't actually blogged since August! I have been so busy riding, parenting and trying to work out how to do this new job it just hasn't been a thing! We finished up last year at a couple of shows, coming away with some more placings, then have been spending the summer working hard to improve fitness and condition etc.
Wednesday Henry and I had a jumping lesson! We have had a few this year, working on impoving his strength, getting deep to fences, improving the basics, but this lesson was with a specific goal in mind, our first competition rounds of the season.
We really took our time warming up, getting him stretching into the bridle, soft, round, pliable. Keeping him deep and round over poles, the usual things we do in a warm up.
When we started jumping, henry was behind the leg and careless. He has really chilled out this year which is great, but not to sloth level! He his the rail a few times, dropped to trot, it was generally a mess. Until Bec put the jump up. He hot it once, then fixed himself. I fixed his canter and boom, horse can jump! I need to let him make mistakes, and learn from them. I have been helping him too much.
Once we had the singe fence sorted we stated on a course. I lost his engine around the corners, so then I needed to think about revving his engine around them to allow us to have a good pace to jump from. Bec also told me to use my legs to keep him in a tube and to just use my hands to steer. Suddenly, we had a good pace, I was flowing with my hands, and Henry was jumping super.
I over jumped with my body a few times causing us to take a rail, but our last course was lovely. We saw our take offs, committed, and we're both responsible for our jobs.
My biggest takeaways are to use my legs to channel him, and only use my hands to steer and then soften 2 strides out. Having my legs ON not only improved the canter but also meant i was kicking him to jump which made the jump better.
I need to help him less, bit get the canter right first.
I need to send him forward and ride him fast around corners, and then rebalance if we need to.
If in doubt, slip my reins and sit up. Let him work it out.
Don't get excited and over jump with my body,
90 is dead easy, once we have the right canter. He wasn't having to work hard to get over the jumps, so just ride the course like I know how to!