|Let's pretend I took some|
British Showjumping - British Masters 2014
The commentators are bloody hilarious. Must watch.
I hate to be so blatantly anglo-centric, but the USEF network commentators just sit there and count strides. The Brits make it a full-on TV broadcast with interviews and behind the scenes and course breakdowns and interesting (!!!) commentary.
Global Champions Tour - London
Because watching champions is awesome.
There is so much to learn from watching horses and riders at this level. I mean, I have zero interest in ever jumping that high (HOLY HELL JUST SAY NO), but it's showing the exact same flaws and strengths you'll see at any level only with all the boring-ness and terrifying-ness of smaller jumpers taken out. Also I'm not worried any of the pairs will die on camera (eventing, I'm looking at you).
|exhibiting a variety of flaws|
- Seamless transitions from counter bend to correct bend in all three gaits
- Particularly, I want Courage to be very soft and flexible. True bend is all well and good for dressage, but straight/counterbent is the way of life in the jumpers. It gives the horse maximum power and engagement. That straightness comes from evenness, which comes from strength and flexibility.
|I need grand prix pics in my life|
- Instant transitions within the trot and canter
- Adjustability and responsiveness are paramount. How do I think I'm going to be able to get my horse to land and move up to a distance (or hold for a close spot) in the jumper ring if he can't do it on the flat? Again, it's not harder--it just requires me to be very disciplined.
- Get comfortable going forward on the flat and over fences
- Here's the thing: the good riders DON'T pull back. I mean, here and there is a pulley rein or something, but in generally, the best rounds come from a smooth horse going forward. Not pulling. Not fighting. If the horse picks up speed and doesn't change his balance, the rider just needs to be able to think in that rhythm and still NOT PULL. Some horses go faster. That's ok.
|not exactly enormous|
- Ride forward through disobediences
- Again, pulling on the horse or slowing down or getting upset all just distract the horse and screw up a nice round. As one of the commentators pointed out, correcting an overreacting horse just makes things worse. Ignore the silly buck or goofy one off spook and just continue the job at hand.
- And finally:
- Experience matters. You just get better with age in this sport.
- Confidence matters. Absolutely 100% for horse and rider.
- Conformation doesn't. Such a diverse crowd out there.
|I do love tack and turnout posts|
In the mean time, I'm really glad to have found some purpose to going around and around in the indoor. It's not just dressage practice--it's instilling the same basics that Laura Kraut put on Cedric (and omg Courage is the same size as Cedric!). I'm finally able to see how this is all going to apply next year and it's making me excited.