Jump Lesson: Do Less

Thanks to Florida, and winter, I have makeup lessons coming out of my ears. This week, we had our normal one Thursday, and another one today.  In between there we had yesterday's ride, which was 30 minutes of me trying to corral the gerbils, and 10 minutes of Connor being reasonable.


After that ride I ran into my trainer.  "How was he?" "Oh, I had to fight for every brain cell, but once I had a handful of them things went okay."  "I think tomorrow is going to be a jumping lesson."  "...yeah."

So today's plan was to focus strictly on me over fences, and let him do whatever he was going to do underneath me.  Even more specifically, I was to get there with impulsion, and then let him figure out everything else, because she wants to give me a solid enough position that if he hesitates or jumps huge, I'm not thrown out of balance.  The exercise for the entire lesson, once we worked up to it, was crossrail - two strides - 2'3 vertical, trot in, canter out.

Things I was supposed to do:
- Establish impulsion, then let him jump it and figure it out himself
- Sit lightly ("not Dressage sitting, jumper sitting") a few strides before the line
- Let him jump up to me
- Keep my hands low
- Turn my toes slightly out to stabilize lower leg

Things I was not supposed to do:
- Pick him up in the reins as we took off
- Manage where his feet went

It felt really good, and different.  It felt like he was jumping underneath me and I was "above it all" - even when he twisted in midair over the vertical when he spooked at a particularly offensive patch of sand (we honestly can't figure out what that was about, but my trainer gave me two thumbs up for sitting it so well and said, "Oh Connor, you keep it interesting.")  It gave me a chance to work on me, and him a break from the nitpicky sandbox work.

Yes, Connor, you keep it interesting.


Every time, he naps by the gate after I turn him out after a ride, ostensibly in hopes that I will come back and feed him more cookies.  I've never done that before, but he's clearly optimistic about his chances anyway.

Look at that face.  That is one optimistic pony.  


I thought I would reward my hard-to-catch horse's desire to wait by the gate for people, so I went out and gave him a cookie this time.  Connor says, "I knew it would work eventually!"

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like a productive lesson. I used to teach on a lesson pony who balked every time the footing changed color slightly. She was odd.

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    1. It's always ponies, isn't it? Haha.

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  2. Connor is so adorable and innocent looking, waiting for his "treats" that will not come his way. He is such a positive thinker!

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    1. Thanks, he really is quite an optimist! Someone just commented yesterday that she doesn't think she's ever seen him without his ears up.

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  3. He is just so darn cute! Glad you had a good lesson!

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  4. Sounds like an excellent lesson. :-) Yeah make up lessons!

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    1. Boot camp is a pleasant side effect of the wheels slowly coming off while she was gone. :)

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  5. I get the exact same treat-craving look from Gavin, must run in the family ;)

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    1. Haha, it must! Has to be from Dundee.

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  6. I love lessons where I get to work on me! Yay cookies!

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    1. Yay cookies indeed. He seems to like these carrot spice things.

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  7. I've never commented before, but I've read your blog for a while and Connor is the best. I just had to comment to say that while he looks nothing like my old Welsh x Morgan pony, he makes *exactly* the same facial expressions. It almost freaked me out when I saw the last photo. Welshes are smart buggers... I love how they always look like they're thinking about something

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    1. Hey there, nice to meet you! I bet a Welsh Morgan cross was awesome! They really are so smart, I don't know if it's a breed thing or a pony thing, but I like it.

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  8. All the adorableness is needed. Super Kid will randomly spook, i swear its like they see something we don't. YAY for jumping

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