Jumping: Straightness through a Gymnastic

We did some real work in our lesson last night!  If only anyone's hands were warm enough to properly use a camera, there might be pictures.  Oh well.

Quality photography right here.

We jumped!  And we worked on straightness, over the fences, so it felt like we were doing a little of what we've been working on in our Dressage lessons, which made me feel good.  Except his problems were completely opposite of what they are on the flat.  I shall explain, with the help of this complex Microsoft Paint drawing that took me hours seconds to make.



This exercise was various stages of ground poles, crossrails, and verticals up to 2'6 throughout the evening.  We started out jumping it off the left rein, so it was bounce bounce one stride, but we spent most of the evening on the right rein.

She noticed that off the left rein, he stayed on the left (correct) lead over the exercise, but off the right, he switched it in the middle and had to do a simple afterward to fix it.  Off the right, he also drifted left (outside) and was more over his left shoulder.

Suddenly this picture makes a lot more sense...

(Yes, that is the exact opposite problem we have been working through on the flat the last two weeks.  ???)

So she raised the jump cups on the right side of the first three fences and put one end of the pole in that and one end on the ground, with perpendicular guide poles between the one stride and first bounce, and also after the exercise to keep him in the middle.  The last fence was a vertical.  After a remedial canter leg yield to the right off the right, we took the exercise.

Interestingly, if the final vertical was 2'3 or lower AND I rode like an intelligent human being trying to create a straight horse (thinking about leg yielding him right through the turn to the exercise), he stayed on the right lead.  Hooray!  But if he felt uncomfortable at all, like jumping 2'6 out of a bounce, he switched to the left lead.

Opposite legs, but a good example of what we were talking about with scapula rotation and forelegs.

She explained that he probably doesn't feel like he can get that right shoulder up out of the way and rotated back enough to put that foot forward and land on it, so he switches to the left.  She also said she thinks this has been going on for a while, because when he didn't switch, it looked different to her.

He really did get the message, and after he went through without switching his lead twice in a row, we called it quits.

(Also, Connor was super sassy in the beginning - cantering like he was stuck in molasses and bunny bucking when I asked for more than that.  Halfway through I put my big girl pants on and pony kicked him into a buck, then a hand gallop down the long side.  I didn't have any problems after that.  I think he was more interested in the pile of hay in his stall than a lesson, but dude, life's not fair sometimes!)

Pile of hay in stall.  Also, time to clip again, whee!

Indestructible?  Well, so far the blanket is doing fine, but the binding is shredded into ribbons by the tail flap.  Also, I think he's in private turnout right now, so...?

13 comments:

  1. Straightness is like the hardest thing EVAR. Seriously.

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    1. Noooo kidding. Stride to stride, it changes, and it's dependent on so many things.

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  2. i may or may not be printing this post out to take to my trainer lol. we also struggle with a serious left drift, and must-land-on-right-lead-every-time-itis... and i'm not nearly coordinated enough to figure it out on my own lol. sounds like Connor did well tho!

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    1. He did! If you'd like more detail, I can give it to you. I purposely took a lot out in order to condense it for easier reading in blogland. Just let me know!

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  3. Actually riding the horse through a grid is so hard. I prefer just sitting there and posing, but obviously, that doesn't always get the job done.

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    1. Yeah...when my trainer was analyzing it at the end, she was like "Yeah, when you really made an effort to ride..." She didn't mean it sarcastically or anything, it was just plain truth. If I remembered to do something other than survive, he went so much better.

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    2. Lol, your trainer says it nicer than mine, but its the truth, while you don't want to pick, sometimes they really do need direction and input from us. Grids are so great for finding out if you or the horse tend to be heavier to one side.

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  4. Your trainer sounds really fantastic and observant - I need to find someone like that in my area!

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    1. She really is, I'm so lucky. Worth every mile of the 38 mile drive there!

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  5. Comrade is bad about jumping to one side too and then he loses confidence because it puts him in the wrong spot. I have not done gymnastics since his chiro, but would be interested to see if he is better. I love bounce exercises, sounds like you got a lot out of the lesson. And it looks like your boy found somewhere rough to rub his butt :)

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  6. Sounds like everyone has the silly winter pony syndrome to some extent right now. Sounds like a productive lesson, and I may borrow that gymnastic for Ginger (although only in the form of poles on the ground and maybe a teeny x :)

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  7. Haha, we are dealing with a bit of the same issue aren't we? Klein doesn't switch leads like Connor though. She just has a bit of a drift. She is definitely right sided, everything to the left is a little weaker and we are actively trying to work on that. We have some dressage homework that involves a lot of lateral work to help strengthen and straighten. Then over fences, we have what you saw in my last post, the chute on the ground.

    Yesterday during our dressage school we were schooling leg yielding at the canter and she would immediately respond to the right but going to the left I would ask her to start moving over and I'd have to give her a little more push with my right leg like "Hey!! O-V-E-R, move your big butt OVER!!"

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