Saturday Lesson Courses

Finally had a lesson on Saturday! With jumps! Whole courses of jumps, even! October weather has been both cooperative and gorgeous lately. I have no film of the lesson, so you get course maps.

Eli and I warmed up over a low wall with no standards as a trot jump. Funny thing about no standards … if you don’t steer, horse will maybe not realize that he is suppose to jump the jump. Hee. So that only happened the second time we came around to trot over it. He jumped it from the trot just fine otherwise, once I, you know, used my legs and stuff, that whole steering thing works great.

We also warmed up by cantering a little outside line and that worked out just fine. After that my trainer raised a few of the lower jumps and we proceeded to execute the first course.

It actually went mostly quite well, except for one missed lead that translated into cross-cantering to a Swedish (made of planks, not poles) off a long approach. The jump itself worked out fine, though and every other part of the course worked out well. We got a bit quick from the 3-stride to the two-stride, but not too bad. We should probably work on taking combinations more often so I’m not holding Eli off the jumps and hoping we don’t leave out a stride … gahd, I hate 3-stride lines.

The next course was a different pattern and the first line rode nicely, but again we had that long approach to the Swedish. Initially, we stayed quiet, but then we got to a point in the approach where I saw a really tight four strides left, or I could accelerate through a big three strides … Well, I SHOULD have softened and whoaed a little and let Eli take the quiet four strides but that is not what I choose to do and Eli got PISSED. The line with the combination was terrifyingly quick and the turn to the tiny little no-standards wall sucked ass. I kind of got Eli back for the last line but not really.

At this point, my trainer had me walk Eli on a loose rein for a few minutes, then flat him at the trot for a few minutes to get BOTH of our brains back. She told me to WAIT WAIT WAIT on the long approach and our second attempt at the same course was lovely. It felt spot on everywhere, and I even got Eli to a little gap at the last oxer on the outside line and he jumped huge over it.

Basically, I had a jumper brain moment. Eli does not like my jumper brain. I think he’s pretty much programmed for easy, quiet rides at this point (with his step he can walk down most lines) and lets me know it when I ride counter to that. My job is to slow my brain down. And also to support his canter with light leg while keeping my shoulders up so we aren’t just flinging across fences. We have another clinic coming up in two weeks (same clinician as last time) and I gotta get my mind right for it.

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