Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning Lessons

I had a jumping lesson yesterday. We only did tiny jumps, but it was very educational. First off: due to intense amounts of smoke and inhibited amounts of ambition, Cuna and I have not been working terribly hard. Every clear day, we did trot sets in the hills with the occasional 10-15 minutes of dressage thrown in. Not much jumping and very little riding without stirrups.

Sooo... we started by cantering through a line of poles 60' apart. I got four strides going, five strides easily, and I thought I was going to die of exhaustion before I got six. I was breathing like an obese asthmatic just trying to get a canter, never mind making the line. Steph's diagnosis: more work without stirrups to improve body control/half halts so I can bring Cuna back without going to my hands. Oh, and we did make the 6. Eventually.

Then jumps! There were three crossrails set 18' apart down the center of the arena.

Course #1 followed the red line: down over the three, then right rollback over the first jump in the line, then left roll to the last jump. Keep in mind: 18' between the fences means I had to ride -very- accurately to place Cuna at the center of the jump. It also increased the variability of the possible striding to the jump. Depending where we jumped it, we could make more or less room.

The first time was ok, not great. I had a steady rhythm coming in and a great balance through the triple (weight in heels ftw!), but I got rushed after the jump. I pulled Cuna around the first rollback and he dropped to trot. I didn't decide in time whether to trot or canter and the line was not great. We squeaked around the second rollback, but again, I didn't commit to any particular line and a wiggly-er horse wouldn't have jumped the last one for me. Dear Cuna: I <3 you.

After a chat with Steph and a chance to catch our (my) breath, we tried again. This time I broke it down into sections, as per Steph's instructions. I developed a good rhythm coming in. Then I stayed in balance through the triple. Then I rode a straight line to give myself space. Then the rollback. We stayed in canter (thank you, outside aids). I picked my line to the crossrail, counted from four strides out. Good. Then ride straight after the crossrails. Now right rollback.

Did I mention Steph had put the last crossrail up to a 2'6"ish square oxer? Not huge, but oxers are kind of still a mental block for me.

Anyways. We stayed in a balanced canter for the rollback. I committed to my line and counted the last four strides. Boom. Oxer. Thank you.

They weren't big jumps, but it was a technical exercise and I was actually quite pleased with how I rode. I meant to ask Steph to take video so I can check my progress, but I forgot. Oops. Maybe this weekend.

All's well that ends well.

Unless, of course, Cuna came out lame on both fronts today.

Like he did.


Good news: I have learned to take a digital pulse. It's way easier than it sounds.


  1. Bummer that Cuna came out lame. Hopefully he is better in no time!

  2. uh oh... hope Cuna is all better tomorrow!

  3. Un oh. Not to worry you, but my old guy came up lame in both fronts and it turned out to be mild laminitis. Turns out he tests positive for Cushings....there are NO other symptoms in him....coat is fine, etc. Apparently some 80% of older horses develop it.

    So, just be cautious. Hopefully it's nothing serious, but stay on top of it.

  4. good to see you today, and im glad it went well i also had to great ride today, cheers to great rides!

  5. Oohh! A new exercise to steal - I like it! Fingers crossed Cuna's tootsies feel better soon!

  6. That exercise looks very challenging. Did you have to jump the oxer at an angle, too? Obviously, I am not in the know with that kind of exercise.

    I am worried for you about Cuna's fronts and the air quality. Be careful. Lungs and airways are precious.

  7. Our trainers must be communicating via ESP. I also had a triple last night in my lesson, although I'm sad to say that I didn't ride it nearly as well as you did.

    Fingers crossed that Cuna mends quickly, whatever happened on the front end. Hopefully it's something minor and he'll be good as new in a few days. PS. I have it on good authority that feeding them extra carrots makes them heal faster. At least this is what my boys tell me!

  8. Definitely stealing that exercise. I hope Cuna feels better soon!!

  9. Oh no! Lame in both fronts? How bad is it? Is he okay? I'll keep my fingers crossed it isn't serious...

    Wow, that exercise sounds super complicated. I probably couldn't pull it off at a trot, much less a canter lol. I'm glad you had a great lesson!


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