Friday, July 25, 2014

Lesson #117: Moving Up the Herd Ladder

I didn't compose a post for the last lesson since we weren't doing anything particularly complicated as Sheri was under the weather. But, let's focus on last night's lesson: it was great. The traffic was more or less agreeable and I got in with good time and one of the young girls was so kind as to tack-up Ariel for me so I was ready to go.

After the trotting warm-up which went well because Ariel and I went in with good lines and deep corners. Moving to the canter was me moving up that challenge scale. This became more of a problem... in the corners, Ariel would occasionally lean on my inside leg b/c I was trying to push her back out. It didn't occur to do the pulsing of my leg aid and instead I resorted to half halts but who are we kidding... she was outright ignoring them anyways. It was frustrating, to say the least. And it wasn't just the right side... it was both, this time. I had to get a crop because she was also doing a pony trot and not immediately departing into the canter... or worse... she'd get into the canter and just ZOOM around. *cringe*. And there I am, desperately trying to regain control through insertion of half halts and trying to keep her from falling in or leaning on my leg and maintaining some contact with the bit/reins. When I returned to the spot from before, I made effort to make clear to her, what I wanted of her so that she wouldn't take over the ride.

G was in my class and so we got to working on jumping tonight. The main part of our lesson was a mini course of 3 x-jumps set up: 2 on each quarter line and one on an angle from the corner. For G, it was about regaining her confidence over fences and not over-thinking the fence as she was approaching it... in canter. That's right folks, we've graduated from only doing them in trot to doing them in alternating canter and trot (with simple changes) to all canter. As usual, a mish-mash of successes and failures and areas for improvement. At one point, it was pointed out to me that I have a great 2-point over the fence when distance and ride in is good. I've also been able to recover not such great rides in, by not falling off and making the jump. In the instances where I couldn't get into the canter before the jump, I left out the canter and just went into the fence in trot so I wasn't 'chasing her into the jumps'.

Again, Ariel was inserting her opinion about how to approach fences and how to take corners if I wasn't being clear and preparing in advance (hahaha when I type that, I recollect the meltdowns I've had with the wedding and how "I need advance notice!!". So yea, I get it, Ariel). There was one turn where we went over the second jump on the quarter line and Ariel decided that counter bend the corner and trot sideways was necessary. Unlucky for her, I had enough at that point and just pulled her into a circle and yanked on her face to redirect her to what I wanted. And man! Did that disagreement ever get me a whole bunch of head shaking, nodding, boot chewing (my boot...) and rein pulling for the remainder of the lesson!! But, you know what? That was moment was needed. I regained control after that and while she was protesting and expressing her opinion, we got over fences just fine.

At the end of the lesson, Sheri had each of us review "3 positive/good things from this lesson":
  1. I cantered a mini course of 3 x-jumps
  2. I took control once and for all
  3. I have the potential to have great 2-point over jumps
  4. And the obvious... I didn't fall off :P

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