Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On A Lighter Note

Izzy and I had a jump day Saturday. I set a vertical and an oxer perpendicular to each other so we could focus on making turns after the jump, which distracts my brain. Both were about 2' tall.

Oh, and my beloved alma mater's football team was playing their season opener that night, so of course, we dressed for the occasion.

George Morris would be appalled at my distraction from the natural beauty of the horse(which Izzy has in spades), but hey, I can't afford to ride with him anyways.

We did a brief warm up focusing first on keeping Izzy forward, then on moving off both legs, then accepting a little contact.


Pause to think, then time to start jumping.

It's amazing how much my riding has changed just because of my stirrup length. Well, that and going forward. I'm confident and relaxed when jumping, instead of nearly having a nervous meltdown in front of the fence.

Off we go!!

This isn't the best moment to take a picture, but I like what it shows of us: eyes up, ears pricked, going forward.

Jumping pony!!

Mostly we just stayed at this height--I need to get completely comfortable before moving up too much. Besides, we have plenty to work on. Specifically, I tend to develop a nice canter, then totally let her drop behind my leg on the approach for NO REASON AT ALL. Oddly, when I keep her forward, we have a much better approach and a really good jump.

You may notice that we are jumping this at a slight angle. It's not because we're actually practicing that. No, for some reason, this teeny tiny little midget oxer kept distracting me on the approach and at the last second, I'd look down at it. Izzy never stopped or went out, but we kept having funny jumps until I fixed it.

Still, look at the picture. Yes, Izzy is just cantering across it. (I suspect it will be 3' ish before she actually has to jump). However... I look mostly balanced. My leg is pretty under me. It's about 60% better than last time I posted a picture. I'm actually quite proud of it.

Plus, thanks to copious amounts of running, my arse is starting to look not-as-bad in breeches.

Finally, a video!! First: I actually debated posting this, because it's not great. It's actually 2/3 sloppy. However, in the interest of documenting our progress, here it is. The first jump I think she was behind me. The second one I got left behind and forgot my core, so that wasn't pretty. The last one is ok.

Yep. We are improving.


  1. I agree with you your position is looking much improved since the last jumping photos. Great job!! Keep up the good work. My only suggestions would be to get more into a 2 point when cantering between jumps. Stay up off her back until about three to four strides out then SIT back lock in on the jump push your leg forward and push her forward. Those things I think will really improve your position and not climbing her neck. I believe that is why she is knocking the jumps, too much weight up front upon take off. Take it for what it is Aimee, it is coming from meeeee ;)

  2. You look awesome, you are so right, your leg is MUCH more secure with the shorter stirrup. She has a great natural rhythm to the jump too. Way to go girls!

  3. Trick of the Aisley. I really loved mine, keep in mind they are a hard (OK, impossible) saddle to equitate in, but a great saddle for confidence and cross country.

    It naturally will have your leg farther forward. Look at your canter picture from the side. If you sit and your stirrups are short, you have to have your leg in front of you.

    Having your leg in front of you is what makes you feel more confident. On a green horse, you put your "feet on the dash" as insurance.Heels down, though ;-) Cross country, as long as you can fold at the hips when necessary, you are much safer with your feet on the dash than if they get behind your center of gravity (perpendicular to the ground, not necessarily to the horse).

    Note in your last jump picture you are ahead of center of gravity. This saddle will do that if you try to jump eq style... it will swing your leg back. You have to work to keep it ahead of you at slower pace.

    I think your heel looks good, you can see your weight is in the calf, all good good good. Be happy with this pic =)

    Her not going forward is partly warmblood, partly habit. In previous year(s), you felt more tentative, due to saddle balance of old saddle, horse green, etc, so less drive felt OK to you, safer.

    Now, though, she still is expecting you to tell her "go". That feeling you have when you're in the middle of a grid that requires you to point, support, but not really push? That is the feeling you want her to have all the time. Right now, since you are having to push the last few strides, that keeps your leg back some, she jumps, you follow (or lead) with your upper body, leg of course swings back.

    Once you fix the impulsion, that will make it a touch easier. You want to "sit and wait" until she is lifting off before you fold forward. It is a hard concept to learn and get the feel of if the horse doesn't have impulsion. It will pay off when you start doing solid obstacles, larger heights, and varying terrain.

    When they're green, they learn the basics. You stay with them. As they learn, they also learn if you're in the "backseat", unless they are told to stop, they go. I think the safest, most important thing to teach an event horse is that refusing is not allowed, and they should jump regardless of riders' balance point. For rider safety, this is generally much farther back than any hunter rider would do.

  4. You guys are in this transitioning phase, I think. You can try taking her on your "track" and doing galloping sets, working on different levels of "fold" in 2 point, always keeping your shoulders back. How much 2-point can you hold with no touch on the neck? No more than 5 pounds pressure weight on the neck? That will tell you if you are actually balanced in the 2 point. Keeping your shoulders up and can be a savior on cross, and the first thing to start to go when you get tired ;-). Legs are only good if the upper body and core and keep the body over the legs.

    An exercise to help you feel that sit and wait position: Stand in your stirrups, press your heels down and if necessary turn your toes out, and basically "brace" your leg on the dashboard, then settle in the saddle. So like the top canter position, but with your heels down and more of a "holding" leg, if that makes sense. Now canter. Keep your shoulders up and back. If you get unsettled, heels pop, stand resettle. Elbows back, shoulders back. That's what you need to be sitting heading to a down bank, etc.

    You can do this next stuff at a walk, walking out if it won't annoy the mare too much from her downtime =). Work on folding forward from the hips and back up. See how fast you can do this. See if you can do it without moving your leg at all. Try really slowly down and up, to work your core more. How well can you do this without touching her neck with your arms, but still forward(not held out to the side, where their weight can help you like tightrope walkers use. Notice you can move your upper body a lot without affecting your legs =)Notice you can get your body back up to vertical by pushing your hips ahead of your shoulders if necessary, as long as you have a good base down below, or "feet forward". Watch videos, you will see good riders do that if necessary.

    This is not the eq ring. As long as you are kind to their mouth and have your own balance, do what is needed to keep your safest balance at any given time.

    Make a bridge and fall forward with weight onto her neck. They need to balance booboos happen on course, and it is no big deal.

    Book ended for the night. Sorry I go on and on and on...

  5. Well I think, YOU GO GIRL! A lot braver than me and I hope to be doing the same one day. Keep up the awesome focused work!

  6. Aimee you look FANTASTIC! For serious, your position looks so much more stable and there is an air of confidence in your writing and in the video. And hell yes your ass looks good in those breeches:) Great job. And I LOVE the polos:)

  7. The confidence is KEY girl..that is awesome :) I'm loving the video and you are right, it's a key tool for your training and improvement. Look at how much you have both grown already! Good job

  8. Looks great! And yes, we should hang out :D

    P.S. Go Broncos!

  9. http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/don%E2%80%99t-jump-ahead-horse

    Denny and Jimmy are two of the best teachers there's been =)


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