I had a lovely impromptu jumping lesson this morning. My apologies for the lack of pictures, but my photographer is in another state and had zero notice. Unfortunately, she doesn't just hang around the barn waiting for me to do immensely photogenic things.
Actually, that may be a good thing. If she did, not only would it be creepy, but also you'd have around 500 photos of me pulling manes, which is simply not that interesting to watch.
Just because it's not interesting doesn't mean it's not cute. Halfie pony ftw!!
So lesson. We started out cantering through two poles set about 22' apart. It was set to be good for one or two stride, but we had to choose which we were going to do in advance, and then DO IT. Stephanie pointed out that while we were making the distances, it was more because Izzy is good at figuring out what she's supposed to do than because I was actually riding and saying "one stride, two strides" to her.
I rode more assertively and she did great.
Then we jumped little crossrails with a specific pattern--trot in, canter out, circle. Again, it's stuff we can just 'get through', but the point was for me to ride and actually be in charge. I'd turn to trot in and if Izzy got chargy or tense, we'd circle out and do something else. I had to really focus on riding from my legs (DO THIS NOW) while just letting the rest of my hips and body stay soft and loose. That way, I would tell her the rhythm and direction, but if she took off long or short, I was poised to go with her.
Sounds easy. SO HARD.
Despite being a challenging lesson, it was rather ego-building in small ways. Stephanie pointed out that I'm a good, balanced rider (omg i did something right!!!!) but that I get tense when I'm nervous which throws Izzy off. I need to stay loose. Another exercise we completed by the skin our teeth. Stephanie thought it was luck, but I protested that while it was mostly luck, there was some tiny bit of skill involved. Her response: "The skill involved was that you've done such a nice job with this horse that she did it for you."
:-) Happy. I did something else right, too.
The lesson culminated in a super cool exercise as shown in the diagram. (Grey is ground, brown is arena fence).
We began with a trot circle to the right, then trotted over the red jump away from the fence and had to turn and immediately and jump the yellow from the canter, then continue on the right lead and finish with a nice, balanced circle.
For reference, there are about 5 strides between the two and they were each set as 2' verticals.
The first time through, Izzy and I totally nailed it.
The second time was not quite as pretty, but the last time, I turned to trot in and immediately felt my hips get tense. I relaxed them, and rode it beautifully! Winning!!