Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Wonderful Lesson

Last week we had yet another wonderful lesson. Miss Satin was in perfect hunter pony mode, which helps make for a great lesson. I had taken her on a trail ride the day before and getting a good run out of her system calms her down for the lesson.

She was a bit lazy at the trot to start, but after a few minutes she got into a good pace. Renee has me a do a lot of two point at both the trot and canter. She is on a mission to give me legs of steel. We also did some work on the walk, since at the show she did more of a prance than a walk in the flat class. Of course, because we were at home, which is much less exciting, she didn't do the prancing. We worked on some things to help anyway, like a change in seat position and the proper way to adjust the reins.

We started jumping with our usual green vertical warm up jump, which we did at the trot a few times. Renee wanted the focus of this lesson, other than two point, to be release. At the show I rode with basically no release, which Renee said was most likely due to nerves, so she decided to work on lots of release. After a few practice jumps, I had the release right where she wanted it and for the right amount of time.

Then we started working on some hunter courses. The first course started with this bending line that had been a problem for me in the past. Usually the problem is because the mare and I both have this weird thing about the second jump in the line so she sometimes stops. That wasn't the problem this time though. In our lesson in the indoor the week before we had a bending line as well and I had a hard time getting her over the second jump. Several times she cut out and if I went to the jump on its own she was fine, but for some reason I could not make the line work. I never had a problem with bending lines before, but apparently my bad luck in the indoor had carried over.

The same thing happened with this bending line. She cut out at the second jump, but when I went to it again on its own she went right over. It obviously was a mistake I was making, and we found out it was in my focus and sometimes my hands. At first I was moving the right hand too much, then I had my hands nice and still, but my focus wasn't steady enough. In the second course we did, the bending line was the last line of the course. We had the same issue our first time doing this course, but on the second time through the course I made a declaration to Renee that this was going to be the best and steadiest focus she had ever seen. Sure, enough when we came down to that final bending line she cantered right through it perfectly, without even a second thought! I was quite happy with myself as was Renee.

The rest of the courses went very nicely. She jumped everything gamely and at a nice calm and steady pace. After we had that perfect bending line, we did a third course and this time Renee made it a short course. We hadn't practice many of those and I think after my victory with the bending line, she figured that was a good point to end on with that line, so left it out of the short course. We had one or two long spots on this course and one line that was a bit quicker and ramblier which caused us to take a rail. I collected her up and our final attempt resulted in a just about perfect course, so Renee decided that was a good point to call it quits. I was quite happy with us both, as was Renee, so it was a quite a successful lesson.

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