September 21, 2013

Sitting In

From the first fence we jumped in our lesson on Thursday, I felt a difference in the way Connor was leaving the ground.  Mary's lessons had given him the confidence to plant his front feet and take off.

But I had a coming-to-Jesus moment of my own in my lesson which, combined with Mary's "confident man" training for Connor all week, made just as much of a difference.

On Thursday, it took me about 100m to get Connor stopped on a straight line after a fence in the field, and I said, "I have no brakes!"  My trainer replied, "You have brakes, but you're using too much hand and not enough seat.  You're bracing against him and then he braces against you.  You should just be able to sit in and he'll stop."  

She had me pick up a soft, controlled canter, pointed out the tension in my joints, helped me release it, then helped me ask him to come down by just sitting - deeply - into my saddle.  There's sitting ON my saddle, which I do, and then there's sitting IN my saddle, which I wasn't doing.  Braced joints make it feel like you're sitting, but you're not.

Over and over we cantered, brought him back, cantered, brought him back, until, for the first time, I got it.  Then we took a fence.

 It was like my tense seat and legs had been preventing some necessary piece of approach communication before that was now flowing freely between the two of us.  I've never felt him jump so confidently and quietly before.  I focused on staying relaxed all the way to the base of the fence, and it really worked.

This fence flowed like silk.  It was an incredible feeling.
Mary has left, but hopefully her Connor lessons and the relaxed canter feeling will stay with us for a long time to come.

And now, after getting ridden five days in a row for probably the first time since I've had him, Connor is getting a well deserved Saturday off and Sunday hack!


  1. You always break down your lessons so well. Kudos. You guys look great! You've come so far! Keep up the great work :)

  2. That "Felt Like Silk" Moment That Is What It Is All About. Then it's Just About Being Able to Recreate that Over And Over. So Happy For You!!

  3. Nice, you guys look incredible and you make it so easy to understand what riding those fences feels like. I certainly miss jumping!

  4. Love the flowing great fences!!!

    Great work girl!!

  5. Awesome! Great breakthrough for both of you.

  6. sounds like some really great lessons :)