Jump Lesson: In My Feet and Adapting

We kept pushing with jumping in tonight's lesson, and ended up figuring a huge thing out.  It's a good thing for people on the green horse journey to keep in mind, too, so I'm happy to get to share my tactical error.

Got some more pictures from the weekend today - thrilled with this jump!  All photos courtesy of my trainer from the clinic on Sunday.

She wanted to work on me being more in my feet/in a half seat, both at the canter and approaching/over the fences.  She said I was sitting too much before the fence, so I asked her, didn't you tell me I needed to sit in approaching the fences?  I specifically remembered her telling me that before Greater Dayton XC in May of 2013.

She said yes, and that was the right thing to do at the time because he was so scrambly and unsure of himself and we just needed him to get over the fences regardless of what it looked like, but sitting in is never going to lead to a jump that feels good.  Now that he's reliably and confidently jumping things, it's time to stop doing that.  It's putting me in the backseat approaching the fence, and it's going to make the fence feel awkward.


Something clicked in my brain, remembering how awkward last Thursday's stadium lesson felt, and how smooth XC felt on Sunday.  I realized that that's why jumping in the open field feels so much less awkward for Connor and I than jumping in the ring, even if we're jumping stadium fences in both places: I'm naturally more in a half seat in the field, and I'm sitting in in the ring.

All this time I thought it was the way he felt about the field vs. the ring, and that is completely incorrect.  He feels the same about both, I'm just riding him differently.

Aha!  Butt out of saddle.
"There are appropriate times to sit in, but it's not all the time now.  You have to feel when he needs that from you and when he doesn't."

Overachiever.
The moral of the story is, green horses change in what they need from you, and you have to change right along with them.  This was a big change that made a big difference: suddenly he was able to jump freely underneath me and I wasn't thrown forward at the fence.

Good thing, too, because he suddenly took offense to this oxer at one point in my lesson tonight, and "cleared the high yellow stripe on the red standard" according to my trainer and a railbird:

Tonight's offensive oxer.  The railbird said, "I hope you don't take offense to this, but that jump he did when you got thrown out of the tack was AMAZING."  

And I stuck it, but my trainer said if I'd been jumping from the sitting in position like I was before, I wouldn't have.  As it was, I believe her that it was the biggest jump he's ever done with me, because I barely stuck it.  Settle down, killer pony!

14 comments:

  1. I love it when you're doing what you were told only to find out that it is now the wrong thing ;) This is a great post! Also, you guys look fabulous!

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    1. Just when I think I'm doing what she wants, she and Connor change it on me. Haha. Thanks!

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  2. Lol, little pony got jump. Having recently been riding the backseat far too often, its amazing how just getting that booty up a little can change your ride. Love the pics.

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    1. It really did, you're right. Thanks!

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  3. Yes, yes, yes, to having to constantly change the way you're riding as the horse develops and learns. Just: yup, yup, yup. :)

    Last month I was leaning to the right every three steps to correct my crooked animal. This month? I'm slightly weighting the left for straightness. It's a constant game of evaluation!

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  4. nice points (and sounds like a great lesson!). my pony tends to 'over achieve' too, and i'm constantly getting jumped out of the tack. maybe a lighter seat is the answer for us too?

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  5. Yes yes, I am having this problem too. I want to push him to every fence to insure he jumps them but he doesn't need that all the time.

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  6. Such a great point! We have to constantly be balancing their needs with our own and changing to help. :)

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  7. Haha, I was just thinking about a post on this very topic--the needs of a greenie change constantly. Keeping up with them is hard work. :-)

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  8. Looking so confident! And yes I can see why that oxen might eat cute lil Connors and have to be cleared by at least 8948722368 feet.

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  9. I'm a stickler for bum out of the saddle when jumping - other than maybe one or two strides before if necessary. Not everyone likes this style, but it works for my guys.

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  10. I just found your blog the other day and wanted to say hi! I'm enjoying getting up to speed. I'm bringing my pony (a 14h Mustang x Arab) along in eventing as well!

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    1. Hey, nice to meet you and thanks for commenting! I love meeting other pony eventers. I'll definitely follow your blog!

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