My trainer stresses the importance of video. There is nothing quite as motivating as watching yourself either screw up or succeed or both. I’m still stuck with my phone camera for video, but I’m thinking about investing in a digital camcorder. Possibly even a manufacturer refurb since its sole purpose will be to film at the barn and I don’t want to spend gobs of money on something that will be exposed to dirt, hair, sweat, and apple drool.
Soooooo, fortunately for me, a spare barn minion was around and able graciously to film my lesson, and she’s pretty good with using just my phone anyway.
The few screen grabs I got off the video are illuminating. Eli jumps great, zero complaints with his performance, how did I end up with this horse??? (I know in reality how, it’s more of a rhetorical question.) But ahhhh, the rider … where do I start?
I am working with my trainer on improving my release and upper body position, which for me go together because I need to develop a release independent from my torso. Apparently I can’t do a long release without ducking, too.
Part of this problem developed out of the kind of ride Eli prefers–very, very, extremely soft and light. Do not touch the face. But in trying to give him ample room to do his thing, I exaggerate following along with my body. I need to lift my shoulder not only in the approach, which that I am doing better, but also keep it up during the jump itself.
And then seeing the video itself is also quite instructive. I struggle with usually one chippy distance out of 7-10 efforts, and my trainer, endlessly patient as she is, never tires of telling me to STOP picking up the reins and use MORE LEG. I am micromanaging, badly, and Eli doesn’t need it but goes along with it and jumps anyway. When I DON’T micromanage, Eli carries us easily to the jumps and his eye is way better than mine so why can’t I remember that for ALL the jumps? I watch the video, and my trainer asks if I had watched it, and my response was, yep, I totally picked up the reins and took my leg off. There’s no way around it. That’s what I did there. So we had a bit of a laugh over that.
You can see the worst of my chippy distances and a little Tokyo drift action on my fail post. For this post, I’ll use the more successful of our trips in the lesson. And all the trips are on my Vimeo.
Our first trip through, I was pretty happy with, except the one vertical before the Swedish we got stuck, but recovered well for a nice effort over the Swedish.
Our third trip was also pretty good, except the wonky distance at the first fence–first-fence-itis is a real disease–and Eli got a little rushed through the triple.
The perfectionist in me sees a ton to work on. Of course. I must balance demanding just a little bit more from myself and my horse while appeasing Eli’s temperament. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?