Friday, December 20, 2013

Solid at 2'6" - Commit to the mistake!

The first words I heard from my coach as I was warming up were, "Look at that pony's canter!"
Obviously, she was pleased with the gait that we were producing.  I was pleased, too!  We have been practicing, you see.  Because the Fancy Pony wants to go faster rather than wait and balance...  It's not that she is being beligerant, it's just that she doesn't know any better!
So, for the last week, I have been insisting that she balance around the turns.  This involves a concious effort on my part to sit up, sit back, and lift her shoulders with my inside leg.  Now, if we're just flatting, she really thinks, "Geez, lady.  What's the point?"  But, now that we are riding connected lines, she is realizing, "Wow, if I do this it makes my job way easier!"
We actually had some adjustability in our canter in warm-up!

I was feeling pretty darned accomplished, and I only jumped ahead of my horse once (I got excited, what can I say?).  Coach sent me around the course again (Which now included outside lines, diagonal lines, and bending lines!  Woo Hoo!) and said to me, "Remember, you are the decision maker.  If you make a decision, even if it is the wrong one, follow through and support it!  Don't drop her at the base of the fence."

You see, I feel like my horse knows better than I do if the long spot or the short spot will be better if we aren't going to arrive at the perfect spot.  So, I have (incorrectly) been giving a stride out and letting her tell me which will be more comfortable.  She doesn't always make the right choice, either, but she always gets us over the fence, and hardly ever knocks a rail.  I think she has had 3 knocked rails in the last year.  Maybe 4.  She is stupendously careful!  Because I have not been commiting to what I see, and leaving it open for discussion, she was feeling a little bit abandoned at the base of the fences.  That one instruction made a huge difference in my next round!  We rode the entire round like a hunter!  Coming to the dinky wall, she wanted the long spot.  She was commiting to it!  I sat up and sucked it in (never touched the reins) and she waited!

The most entertaining part of the ride, however, was the last course we did, where we rode a single fence, diagonal bending line, outside line, diagonal bending line, outside line.  The final outside line was new, and she was convince that we were done after the final bending line.  I bent her toward the final (new) line, and she was sleeping.  She just wanted to cruise (in balance, at least!) around the end and hang on the rail.  This last line comes up fast, especially if you don't come off of the rail at precisely the right moment.  And the first jump in the line is a very solid gate!  It was ugly, but I hauled her off of the rail, putting us on a bit of a diagonal approach to the gate.  I told her, "I don't care how ugly it is.  Get over and put yourself together!"  She zeroed in on the fence, hopped over it on the diagonal line that put us in the middle, landed straight and in line for the second fence, balanced, adjusted for a proper take-off, and jumped quietly and round over the final fence!  She was so with me, at that point, that I rode her around to the end of the ring, did a balanced transition to trot on a half circle, which put me on the centerline.  We trotted about 1/4 of the way down the centerline, and trotted right into a straight halt.  It was so lovely, I saluted like it was a dressage test!

As far as committing to the mistakes, Coach and I discussed some of the choices she would have made differently (as well as the choices that she whole-heartedly agreed with), and she didn't seem to have any issue with the reasoning for the decisions I made differently.

The show this weekend has now been cancelled to to imminent freezing rain and overall crummy weather, so we won't get to show off our newfound hunter skills yet.  On the upside, I recieved my Not-So-Secret Santa Blogger gift, and I will be making a whole seperate post about it because it is over the top, and I need your full attention for the gushing.
On the other up-side, I finally got mine together and packaged and SHIPPED (today, geez, I feel so behind!!), so it should reach its destination next week.  Hopefully before Christmas, but if not, definitely shortly after.  I sure hope she likes it!!

Special Note: I have it on good authority that we will start playing over small corner questions and skinnies and all manner of other fun things like that.  I can't wait to tell you guys what the Fancy Pony thinks about such mind-boggling questions!


  1. GM always says to commit to a distance whether it is right or wrong.

    1. You know, that GM guy, he might actually know a little bit... ;)
      The craziest part is, I didn't even realize I was seeing a distance! I don't trust my own instict all the time, but I really need to.
      I really feel like once we get this whole hunter thing, the cross-country course is going to be cake!!

  2. I am just now starting to try and see distances instead of canter towards an object and hope for the best... not sure which is better!

    1. LOL! I know what you mean! I've never obsessed over distances, and I thought that perhaps this was a serious fault in me, since everyone seems so focused on "seeing the distance" and "finding the spot". But I recently read an article recapping a Greg Best clinic. He was going on about riders obsessing about finding the distance, and how counter-productive it is. After that, I felt less guilty about it. I think "seeing the distance" is something I should have in my toolbox, sure. On the other hand, if I ride my rhythm and ensure that I have the proper canter for a jump course, the distances take care of themselves!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...