Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Work to Do

Videos are great because you capture the moment exactly as it happened.  Videos are also hard to watch.  Video taping my first jumping lesson may not have been the best idea, since I can see all my flaws in that ride.  Let's categorize them, shall we?  Then you can comment on how to fix them and I will go ask my other trainer Mr. Google also.

Pumping my upper body to get her more forward.

Leaning too far forward.

Launching myself over the jump (this goes with leaning too far forward).

Fiddling with my hands too much (not sure you can see this on the video but it's true anyways)

Weak legs and two point position (this will probably go away with time spent in two point)

I was told my legs would be super sore today.  The bad news is that they're not, my back is.  So...I am definitely using the wrong muscles.  I'd like to believe that my legs are super strong and that's why they don't hurt but I know that's not true.  I know it's because I'm not in a true two point.  That's why my back hurts today.  I think it's a combo of leaning too far forward and not using the right muscles.

What I'm Good At:

Looking at the distances.  My trainer showed me how to look for the first line, then look at the last pole, then look at a farther distance.  I had always learned to just look up the entire time and NEVER LOOK AT THE JUMP!  Which turns out to be only sorta true.  She said that when you have a horse that isn't as confident, you need have shorter distances with your eyes.  So you start by focusing on the first pole, at the spot where you want to come in at.  When you've got that lined up, you switch to the last pole (this is using four ground poles and a jump) and when you're lined up for that you look to a distance farther out.  She said that if you use 'soft eyes' and your horse isn't confident, it won't feel like it can make it all the way out to those trees outside the arena.  She had me looking at a distance after the jump and then when we were clear, looking towards the arena wall.  It worked.

The other thing my trainer talked about was how you have six strides (she said this is mostly doing cross country but the general theory holds true for all jumping) before each jump to change what you're doing.  You can half halt, ask for more forward etc.  But once you're two strides from the jump, you need to ride the horse you have.  Trying to change something that late will result in run outs, stops or wrecks.  Two strides away, you just close your leg (I almost typed close your eyes.  ha!  That would make it much more interesting, wouldn't it?) and ride the horse that's underneath you.

I really enjoyed moving away from the technicalities of dressage.  As a confirmed busy body, it was helpful to do something where I need to learn to be still.  About every ten minutes my trainer would yell, "Don't worry if she's round, just get her forward!"  This should be my mantra for all my rides, including my dressage rides.

Don't Worry about Round, Just Get  Forward!


  1. Get her forward and..
    1. Body pumping goes away
    2. Throwing YOURSELF over the jump goes away
    3. Fiddling with your hands should go away

    You looked much better than I would that's for sure!

  2. I agree with the more forword, and A LOT of time in 2 point. I really like the 10 seconds posting trot, 10 seconds two point, 10 seconds 2 point. Its helped me a lot over the years improve my leg/lower body position. You need to think about letting your weight drop into your heels, and using your lower and upper leg to keep you out of the saddle.

    I do want to ask if you are comfortable trotting and cantering for extended periods of time in a 2 point or 1/2 seat? If not that is something I would be working on while not jumping. Don't worry so much about what the Pony is doing and just think but out of the saddle and Forword!

    You're braver than I am :) I miss jumping so bad some days but sometimes something has to give... I think this is going to be great for both of you!