Jump Lesson: Goldilocks and the Three Paces

I had a lesson in the midst of our vacation.  Another jumping lesson, this time in the indoor.

Connor was looky and moving fast but not really in front of my leg.  Does that make sense?  He wasn't "bright" enough in the hind legs or moving well off my leg in the beginning, but we were traveling quickly.

Weird pony stands like this on a semi-regular basis while being tacked up.

It took me until the end of the lesson to get him in front of my leg, so I got to feel a few rounds that were not right. I liked that, because I am learning what feels wrong and what canter is appropriate for what fence.  Today felt like Goldilocks and the Three Paces - too slow, too fast and just right.

Wet head, clipped body.
In one round, he broke because I didn't have enough left leg on him and he didn't know we were committed to a fence placed diagonally on the quarter line (He jumped it anyway.  He's going to be point-and-shoot someday, he's so honest.)  There were many poles that felt bad because they were "right distance, wrong canter", though I was complimented for how much better I am staying in the center of him no matter what goes on underneath me now.

There was one where it felt like we were moving well, until we got to the first element of a three-fence line with one strides in between, and as we took a weirdly long spot, I felt like we were slogging through water to get over the fence in slow motion.  Ah, that must be what it feels like when you don't have enough pace.  Immediately after that, I asked for a walk-trot transition and was met with "Was that my friend whinnying?!" instead of a transition, so I asked again and backed it up with a smack from the crop.  A crow-hop and a tail swish later, he was finally in front of my leg with crisp, sharp transitions the rest of the lesson.  It only takes one reminder!

That next round was, predictably, the best, and for the first time all day I felt like I could get him to the base of the fence, and we were in sync, and the canter was appropriate.  It's weird how too slow of a pace made it harder to get to the fences.  My trainer said afterward that he started out so fast that she was worried he'd fall apart in the middle of the round, but it actually improved as we went along.


  1. :-) Once you find that canter? It's awesome. What a great lesson.

    1. I wish I could bottle it up and call it on demand...then I wouldn't need lessons...hmmm...

  2. Ah pace.. story of my life to make distances!

    1. It's so hard to develop a feel for! I'm jealous that you get to practice it all the time.

  3. Super Kid stands like that all the time, irritating when you aretrying toput in polos. I have the opposite problem with pony, we are fast and like to travel in a quick little canter, se really have to work at lengthening and slowing down!


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