September 10, 2011

Jumping Adagio

This week, my surprisingly athletic pony amigo, Adagio, and I, continued the story of getting to know each other.  I didn't write about last week, primarily because I was gone for quite a while after the death of my best friend's parents, and partially because that lesson, which was held 11 hours after I found out, was an awkward "coming-to-Jesus-moment" for both of us.  My head wasn't in the right place, he was mad at me, and things didn't click until part way through the lesson, when my trainer had me back off of what I was doing and work on communicating things more effectively.  It worked, we made big progress, and that lesson had to happen before we could move on with our lives, but it was still a downer.

This week though, I had a blast jumping this little guy for the first time.  He's quick, his gaits are self-regulated so I don't have to continually think about pushing, pushing, pushing, and he sees strides very well.  He's athletic enough to get me out of scrapes, quick enough to be fun, and small enough that I have a ton of confidence when I'm on his back (even though he's just barely pony).

My biggest takeaways from this lesson were the ideas of a "patient correction," and working on sitting up quicker after fences.  For the patient correction, she introduced the idea that I have to be thinking about the ride and the strides all the way back when I first see the fence, and that my corrections need to happen subtly in the strides before the fence, not all at once at the fence.  Maybe this seems like something I should've gotten before, since it makes so much sense, but having it explained in black-and-white letters like that made it click and brought it to the forefront of my mind.

As far as sitting up, I've always just sort of "survived" through gymnastics and lines.  With a quick horse like Adagio, sitting up and asking him to not rush through the line is a lot more important.  It amazes me how responsive he is to just putting my shoulders back; I got an immediate response from him, whereas before when I've done that, nothing happened.  I know that school horses just get to be like that after a while, but I told her that Adagio is helping me see that some of the things I've been asked to do in the past that haven't been effective weren't effective because I was being ignored, not because I was doing it wrong.  That goes for the flat as well as fences.

I have a feeling that this pony is going to help me gain the sensitivity in my riding that I've been missing.  She always tells me that I'm working too hard, and that I need less of whatever I'm doing.  I overcompensate, because that's what has gotten things done in the past.  Adagio is different, though, in that sitting deeper does make a difference, putting my shoulders back does have an immediate effect.  I need that, and I'm so glad she put me on him.

Other things that bear remembering:
- Folding at the hip instead of rounding my back over fences
- Relaxing up to the fence (envisioning myself in a recliner actually made a huge improvement)
- Riding the same canter before and after the fence
- Riding the rest of the line based on how we came into the line

No comments:

Post a Comment