Pace and stride length vary greatly amongst horses. Eli is one where even though his stride may open up, his pace doesn’t change. This presents a challenge for me: developing my “eye” for distance on a horse that doesn’t speed up but can eat the ground underneath him anyway. And my eye is not so good to begin with.
No matter, I have an endlessly forgiving horse and we’re not jumping big sticks. Eli was super quiet on Saturday, so I asked my trainer about working on an exercise where we just trot in and canter out and I learn how to freaking ride that straight and consistently. So after a low key warm up …
… that was what we did. We worked on: correct the right drift, ask the horse back early after the trot jump, don’t rush the next jump, close leg at the base, finish the turns after, don’t stop after every time through.
Eli, of course, did not appreciate the half halts after the trot jump, but otherwise he was dead on everything and I learned (or re-learned, really) a lot.
He was super simple the first trip through and I didn’t have to do much. But once the vertical started going up and Eli got warmed up, I had to pay more attention.
Even so, focusing wasn’t too difficult, and Eli was in a really good mood. I could tell he was having fun and felt good. I didn’t always do a good job of waiting at the trot jump, though.
I’m also not insisting he trot the last step to it right now, because I know he needs adjusting and I think that will make a difference. (He’s got an appointment on the calendar already.) In the end, I was extremely happy with my horse! I definitely rode well the last time through so we ended there.