Saturday’s lesson consisted of taking Eli through what is possibly my most favorite exercise — a 2-stride X-to-vertical to a 2-stride vertical-to-oxer, both set at 30′, to be taken from a forward trot or a collected canter. Eli has no choice but to back off the jumps at least a little, and must jump from the base, around the jump. No flingy, gappy, flat jumping here. If the exercise had an oxer instead of a vertical at the second element, I’d probably open up the second 2-stride by about 3 or 4 feet … which I kind of want to do now next Saturday!
I also tried something a little different, and something that goes against every ounce of my knowledge related to riding in the jumper ring: I lengthened my reins. And it worked fairly well. Seriously, it felt a little weird after basically 3 decades of having someone yelling “S H O R T E N your REINS!” at you all the time. My reins were not long by any means, but longer than usual, with a minuscule feel, and Eli pretty much loved it.
My trainer and I agreed to work out the longer reins tactic through a few different grids first, mainly for me, and then try it with courses in a few weeks.
I schooled in my Romfh Sarafina breeches in White Sand and the EIS American Cool shirt for a clean look and sun protection.