AWESOME lesson tonight. I felt good. Hot, but no brain mush this time (amazingly).
I started my lesson by listing out the “duhs” that I need to remember:
1) Sit up before and during my corners (duh)
2) Keep your leg on over the fence (duh duh)
3) Try the automatic release as much as possible (duh duh you’re a dumb dumb)
Breaking it down before riding in the indoor in 95 degree weather + humidity – wind really helped me avoid the brain mush. With these key points in mind, I came into that lesson like a boss.
Warm up went well, blah blah flatwork isn’t fun to talk about right now. On to the fences!
We started over a tiny crossrail on the outside track, no big deal, trotted over it like a boss twice. That’s about all the trot fences I can usually convince Gracie to do before I start getting the canter strides. Whatevs.
Anyhow, moving on to the first course. It looked something like this:
Originally, the fifth jump was actually out, and we did this course very hunter-y. Well, until my instructor told me to pick it up to the second fence and get jumper-y, which was fine, until the third fence which I WAYYYY cut the corner on beforehand and took a leap of faith over it. Let me tell you, I got so much #diva, she was all:
Anyways, I got her back right before the fourth fence, so that went pretty well. I sat up in all my corners, legged her up, brought her back, and she was wonderful, even for the parts I wasn’t. Overall, it was a pretty straightforward course, and other than my royal you-know-what, it went fine.
Next set of fences:
Obviously this is where the fun starts. Outside to outside: piece of cake. Swinging around to fence 3 oxer on a short stride? No big deal, I’ve got #diva on my side. Figuring out whether I want to fly or keep it short over four was a struggle for whatever reason. We took a flyer over that one, whatdya gonna do. I came back around, reorganized, did a beautiful automatic release, allowing me to turn Gracie in the air to fence 5, and finished up over the outside again. Did that one more time for good luck, and we were set.
My instructor told me that my equitation looked way better tonight, which I will equate to doing automatic releases over the fences instead of crest releases. I’m not sure if this is correct, but I’ve always been told to push into my hands when landing with a crest release. I feel like this doesn’t make sense; shouldn’t you be falling into your heels? Anyways, physics aside, when I do an automatic release, I can’t possibly lean too much on my hands, so I have to keep my back straight and up, and my leg on and tight. It makes more sense to me to do an automatic release now. I would strongly encourage anyone who is having trouble keeping their leg on or heels down over fences to have your instructor teach you how to do a PROPER automatic release (you really don’t want to mess that up) on an experienced horse and practice practice practice. I believe that that, combined with riding like ze Germans and sitting up BEFORE my corners (and during) has made a tremendous difference in my courses. I’m now able to be more stable and organized around my corners and over fences, both of which are sort of important in jumpers.