Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lesson #172: More Jumping Progress

Although it's nice to have Thursday night lessons all to myself, it was a welcome change to have another rider in the class. This student rides her own horse and their focus this year (from what it sounds like) is jumper. The course that she was working on was pretty tough... the turn into one of the lines was really tight and she had to collect as she was coming into the line. Her position over fences is beautiful. It flows and she looks so effortless over the jumps.

I start my warm up and remember that in order to make use of my walk, I need to loosen my hips with Ariel's movements and flow with her while opening up the walk with alternating legs. Sheri asks me how I feel today and I mention that I feel tight--which is not a lie. Specifically, my calves are feeling tight, even though I shouldn't have a reason to have tight feeling calves. That said, I just think about keeping my heels down and loosening my hips and lower back. Sheri tells me to take my feet out of the stirrups and just relax and drop my weight down through my heels and just flow with Ariel's movements.

A few rounds and I take my stirrups back and start trotting around with the aim to have Ariel long and low and me: relaxed. This exercise has become far easier than it used to be when it was a struggle just for me to stay with her through my seat and body. Tensing up always made the situation worse, even though I tried not to.

That was fun but man am I tired now... --Ariel

Next, we're doing jumping today so a quick canter around and then I trot into an X. The X's are becoming less of an issue and so I add in a vertical. The vertical isn't high, but it does enough to cause me some grief. I am not sure if I'm not releasing enough, or if my heels are falling back, thus causing me to tip forward. Continuing, another X is added so that this mini course is becoming a sort of twisty loopy route. I am only relatively successful and I continue to have the same issue of curling forward and not being able to sit up between jumps. I seem to anticipate them and upon the approach, actually lean forward.

After a few more rounds with some degree of success, I am asked to complete the course by taking a vertical with some narrow fillers. I really had a good time with the jumping even though there is a bit of apprehension just before I get into it, each time. I still have the same vices where I tend to lean into the approach and my heels don't always stay firmly down but it is slowly improving since I"m not being thrown as much or getting left behind as often. It isn't pretty, but it is at least successful in making it over.

We cool out with lots and lots of bending and turning with the horses with their necks long and low to stretch out their backs after doing so many jumps. I take this opportunity to test my seat turning again.


  1. glad the jumping continues to improve! finding the right rhythm will come with practice :)

    1. thanks! definitely. my body is starting to understand the movement into the jump, over and landing and coming back out. it continues to be a struggle but i am most certainly moving forward so that's all that counts :)

  2. It is interesting to me to learn how people work up to jumps and courses! Thanks for sharing!

    1. glad to share! like yourself, i do this mostly for myself to understand my progress and break things down and analyze etc. it's even better if someone else can take some of what i've learned, and also apply to their own riding :)