Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's Different

Over the past week or so I've had a series of really good rides and a couple of not so great ones (not horrible but just not as great.) Our biggest struggle is still rushing when we jump but we've had a couple of days including today where Loki was actually somewhat soft and rideable. So I've been trying to figure out what is different on the days that we have good rides versus the days we have bad rides. I know at least some of it is just having a bad day for no tangible reason but surely there are some things that do make a difference. Here is a list of things I've noticed:
  1. Start with the walk. On the days we have had good rides I have started off with really pushing Loki to give me a correct walk. It's easy to be lazy at the walk, for me at least, but when I ask Loki to soften and give and reach and all that good stuff at the walk before we even do anything else I am finding that he tends to be softer at the trot and canter later and I think that is even translating to softer when we jump.
  2. Give the benefit of the doubt the first time.  This maybe doesn't make total sense but I've found that the days we have a good jump session I start out being extra soft as we start jumping. I let Loki pick his own pace over the first fence even if it is a little fast. This is really hard for me to do sometimes because I am always expecting him to get super fast. But, when I stick to this our sessions go so much better. Today we just warmed up over a cross rail on a circle and we just stayed on the circle until we were able to keep the same rhythm through the entire circle. What a great feeling!
Okay so this isn't a really long list but these are the two things I've noticed so far. Today we jumped around just a small course of low jumps and Loki stayed very soft and rideable the entire time and he was just in his Myler comfort snaffle. Having rides like this are both hopeful and slightly frustrating. Hopeful because I know it is possible, we can do it. But it's frustrating because I can't get the results on demand, yet. But when I look back over everything we have accomplished I think we are doing okay and I just need to remind myself to be patient.

Sweaty after our ride.
 

4 comments:

  1. Starting with the walk is a good one... I'm really bad at that. I let Simon amble along and his walk is not super awesome because of it.

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  2. I also struggle with good walk work!

    Sounds like you two are really working together great lately!

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  3. I definitely always have better rides if I spend a good 5-10 minutes at the walk first! Just walking on a loose rein at his own pace, then asking for stretch and step-up, then lateral work at the walk. It's easy to skip because it's "boring" but it really is so, so important! Glad you're making improvement though :)

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  4. I am really bad about starting with a working walk and moving up!

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