Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lesson #130: Deconstruction

My lesson on Thursday became a private since G wasn't able to make it. J was in the arena riding a new spicy little pony named Cafe and just schooling her and taking some light instruction from Sheri. Since I've literally started riding each stride and stopped "just sitting there", things have progressed significantly. I'm not too sure what it was that flipped in my brain but I've taken control of the warm ups and even ride the strides and the corners with complete and total intention. I've stopped letting Ariel take over and have asserted myself as leader, in our little 'herd'. And sure, it was tough at first, but I've gotten much less lip from her and we only have a momentary disagreement before she falls in line and we get moving.

During the warm-up, Ariel got into a great forward pace and we moved onwards to the canter. I have to remember to set Ariel up, deep in the corners so that she's not barreling around and falling in. It takes a lot but I have a few really awesome corners where everything is where it needs to be; I get confirmation of this when Sheri calls out the very excellent corner I just took!

As this was just going flat, I was able to concentrate on body position and half halting. I find that this is always a great time for me to sort stuff out before getting into jumping. Jumping complicates things because you've gone from being able to accomplish the flat properly (which is what I have been working on a lot, lately) to adding in that leap. Yes, it's supposed to be just like another stride but let's face it, all the thoughts that run through your head as you're approaching a jump is going a mile a minute and hesitation isn't a good one to have.

I focus on 2 specific jumps: a broken line of X's. Without explaining the intention, Sheri instructs me to take the first X and continue to go around the second one. Well something turned off in my brain and I wasn't being clear enough with Ariel and we end up accidentally making the broken line. Wow, I was so not prepared for that. I didn't fall off but you could tell it was a rushed decision from both Ariel and me. I wasn't clear enough with her and she just took over and figured that it was a broken line we were doing. Wrong. Sheri tells me that I need to be much more clear because while it wasn't dangerous or anything, it wasn't the intention. I try again and we manage the rather tight ride out and around the second jump. We end up playing a little "Sheri Says" and she dictates if I do the broken line or just focus on a single of the pair. The challenge for me is to correctly direct Ariel where we want to go, and not let her take over, due to my own unclear instructions.

Now, that sounds all dandy and those components were half bad but I need to continue working on gaining better control of pace during the ride into the jumps because Ariel speeds up towards the jumps. Lots of half-halts! In addition, I've been having a lot more trouble with my 2 point lately and I have no idea why. I am either launching myself before she takes off, or I end up on her neck or get left behind. It's a bit strange considering I wasn't having as many issues before. Some more things to focus and work on in the coming lessons.

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