Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lesson #75: More Jumping

Today is the first day that I had a moment where I found myself grumbling "winter really needs to be over. I am so done with you, winter". I'm a winter baby and I'd take the cool weather over the hot, any time. But, I think I've had enough today. What prompted this flip of perspective? I skated to the stable today. There was recently a dumping of snow and then rain and then melt on top of that, finished off with a great old freeze. The driveway to the stable was a skating rink and getting Ariel from the paddock today was a careful dance to the stable door.

I didn't come up with ADW, so rode with the novice girls who have been riding since they were tots. A rattle to my confidence? You betcha. The only thing I can take heart in is that one of the girls (she's not even in high school yet...) is nearly half a foot taller than me so I feel like we're not that far in age.

Sheri sets up a bunch of standards and a few jumps. We continue to work on bending and turning; reminded that "even turns should be like circles" and shouldn't be sharp or abrupt. This is not as easy because consistently bending the horse can be tricky. Ariel is quick to tell me when I'm not doing something right... she tenses up and raises her head in protest. We continue to do this a bit longer and then move into a long canter around the arena. We focus on keeping our pace and not zooming around the arena like mad rider and horse. There are moments when my hips aren't relaxed and my seat is smacking the saddle instead of scooping through smoothly with little space between bottom and saddle.

Our next step is working up to simple jumps. I have the low x-jumps and the other girls have a variety of x-jumps and straight jumps. The first try I have a trot not fast enough and Ariel is so good to just hop over but it was both awkward and unhappy looking; increase the pace but keep it consistent right up to the take-off. I work on my crest release with a quicker recovery, following the landing because I'm often all over Ariel's neck. My crest release is better today because something clicked and I understood what I was to do: 2 point and extend your arms forward... what was I doing before? I was keeping my arms locked closer to an angle from my body and actually tipping forward. At least that's what I evaluated the error to me. But that being said, not once was I left behind today so something was right. I did have wobbly jumps and Ariel likes to cut corners and take the jump off-center but these are all things I should be able to fix... soon. As soon as I stop focusing on everything leading up to the jump and just focus on getting through the jump as a whole, not pieces.

A few things I found did help, when Sheri had me focused on 1 thing to fix each round...
  • Have a target you're looking at when you're jumping... don't look down. I have to remember my dragon boat steering days...
  • If I know she's tending one way, look towards other and be prepared to have the appropriate aids to counter that possibility.
The couple of things that I will incorporate into my workouts (which are only so-so, btw :( ) are 1) opening my chest so that when I give with my hands, for Ariel's head/mouth, I don't collapse my shoulders forward and actually move my arms/hands forward while keeping my chest open and proud. 2) I also need to loosen my legs and hips more... the desk jockey syndrome is really starting to take a toll.

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: = 3 x $2.00 = $6.00
To date: $97.00

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