So much power and "potential energy" all coiled up in a thousand pounds of electric elegance, just waiting to be released, THAT is the enormous privilege handed to those lucky enough to ride horses----
For certain, there`s accompanying risk and danger, but once you get your head past that, and realize that even couch potatoes just as inevitably kick the bucket, you are ready to rock and roll.
Addictive? You got that right. ~Denny Emerson
The jumping portion of my lesson was focused mainly on helping Loki learn to better use his body to jump. When we first started jumping Loki had a tendency to want to run at the jump at full speed getting all flat and inverted in the process. We are working on getting him to slow down and start to "think" about what he is doing as well as getting him to use that powerful hind end of his.
We started off just warming up over some cross rails. For the purpose of this lesson none of our fences were very high. I wish I could have gotten pictures of my lesson before when we were doing the gymnastic line. At the end we were jumping about 3'.
|Loki is pretty much just cantering over this little cross rail and I'm slightly ahead. I don't know why but I actually find it harder to wait for these little jumps than I do for the big ones. Psychological maybe?|
|We started adding some width and you can see that even though his front is sloppy he is really starting to stretch his whole body and neck over the jump. I like my position in this photo.|
|Same jump at a different angle but Loki's knees are up and square, a little loose but this is such a little jump I am hopeful he will get them tighter as the fences get bigger.|
In these next few photos my trainer widened our jump and placed a pole across it to make sure Loki didn't mistake it for a bounce. I'm not sure if I've ever jumped anything quite this wide before. It was maybe only an extra 6 inches but it really freaked me out at first. As you can tell from the pictures.
|But he went ahead and tried to jump it anyways. Notice that I'm looking at the ground and have attempted to fling my body ahead in order to jump for Loki. Bad, bad bad!|
|Now we're both looking at the jump of death!|
|At first glance this might look okay but you can see that I am still trying to cling a little to my fetal position.|
|And the end result is a rail. We actually brought the whole back part of the fence down.|
After that my trainer "yelled" (she doesn't really yell) at me and told me to get my shiz together. She sent me to jump a couple of easy fences to get us back in the rhythm and then told me that I needed to get over this jump and I was going to need to add some serious leg to the equation to make it happen. I chanted "Be aggressive, be-ee aggressive" up to the fence, put my leg on and this happened:
So my takeways are:
1. When in doubt add leg!! I'm not entirely certain how to keep myself from doing the fetal impression when something scares me but I know that is not a safe reaction. I'm very grateful for a horse that seems able to handle it, though, and the more we encounter these kinds of situations and push through the more trust I gain in him. I'm not sure if that works the other way around, though!
2. My position over fences has really come a long way. My leg is no longer swinging like a rusty gate caught in a strong wind. But, I need to continue to think about letting go with my knee so I don't get that hinge action. I also need to work on staying up in the saddle longer after the fence. After all, as someone, somewhere said a dropped rail is just as expensive in the back as it is in the front.
Overall I was pretty happy. We worked through something that intimidated us and came out stronger on the other side.
I am really stoked for next show season. If we keep this up it could turn out to be a really great one!