Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lesson #151: Rushing the Fence

My Thursday night lesson included +ADW too, which was really nice. Similar to the usual plan, the start of the lesson is shared with two other adults who ride only flat work, with a focus on dressage exercises. While they're getting into their lesson, I'm warming up. Our warm up was focused on posting trot with varying tempos. Long, relaxed and low; to a lively working trot. Our aims were to come down with a gentle "sit" and not to do too much "thrusting" with our hips while keeping the rising flowing. It's definitely a feel thing.

Ariel was in the lesson before mine so she was warmed up but giving me trouble on the right rein. I am sure it had mostly to do with my crookedness. The left rein was fine and flowed wonderfully. But once we got onto the right side, she was falling in and cutting corners. I was certain that it had to do with my wonky shoulder and tight hip. Since Ariel is a really sensitive mare, small imbalances become magnified and I have to work doubly hard to keep her (and me!) in line. So, when we were told to get into the canter on the right rein, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Hi, I'm Molson. I'm trying a new 'thing' with my hair. What do you think?

The right rein was definitely a lot of opinionated Ariel and uncomfortable me going round and round. I want to say "I get it, Ariel! I'm twisted one way but you gotta work with me here." After getting around a few times with me working mega hard to keep her in check, despite my crookedness, we move to working on jumps and course work.

The course work is tough. They are low X jumps but keeping in alignment with the jump upon approach and not getting ahead of yourself is a challenge. I found myself going through the exercise at the trot to be okay... but I did struggle to get the position right, going over the jumps and being sure that I didn't fall behind. The jumps are lined up along the middle of the arena along the long side but at alternating angles from one another--a very shallow zigzag.

I found my biggest issues were that I, not Ariel, was rushing the fences. I would approach the fence and find myself getting ready for it by leaning in and almost "superman-ing" over the thing as opposed to two pointing it. This causes a series of problems with the position, ranging from bad distance to poor balance over the jump. There was even an instance where Ariel took the jump way too long and I was leaning forward way too much and she had to stick in a half canter step to get both of us over the jump so that I wouldn't land on the ground in front of her. It was bumpy for me and probably equally unpleasant for her.

All in all, I enjoyed the fast pace of doing this type of course work where we just went one after the other and did several jumps in sequence.

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