We had our second jumping lesson this week last night, and I am just continually impressed by Spirit’s attitude, willingness, athletic ability, and enjoyment of our sport. While Spirit and I normally have a “git-r-done” approach to jumping, somehow making it through our courses though sometimes painful to watch, this time Laurie forced me to really re-balance, slow down, and do things *right* rather than just get through. And I have to say, while it was an adjustment for me to mentally be more demanding of both Spirit and myself during a course, once I actually started riding between the fences it made a world of difference. I felt more confident when we reached the jump and Spirit was set up to jump much better. While on the one hand she was forced to use her body, on the other hand she liked that it made things easier for her. This week has been about control and balance throughout the entire ride, not just on the approach to the first fence.
Here are the specific concepts that I am working on right now:
- Looking at the fence, rather than beyond it or off to the side. See this Jimmy Wofford article.
- Picking up myself and my horse immediately after the jump. Shorten my reins and demand instant re-balance.
- Do not allow Spirit’s right shoulder to fall in (tracking right/2nd direction), nor let it pop out (tracking left/1st direction) or let her over-bend her neck to the left.
- When I shift her body, do so with my calf not my heel. Squeeze, don’t kick. Keep my heels down even when moving her body.
- Keep her neck straight on approach to jumps. (This is a little intense at first – I’m looking at her neck instead of where I’m going, and I’m using my legs on her right before the jump, which she likes to interpret as GO-GO-GO!)
Looks like this arranged friendship is off to a good start! My friend and I are gonna have the cutest eventing horses ever! <3