And boy do I need it!!
Beth met me at Ashland today and I had a jump lesson on Fleck. Then I took Tucker out to the XC field and rode him out there. It was maybe his first time out there so we weren't sure what he was going to do. He was great, but more on him later. Fleck first :)
I got tacked up and we headed up to the jump ring. We started off and it was a disaster! I just couldn't get it together. I felt like I was taking away from the bank with every step and Fleck was about 2 jumps away from quitting and telling me to "shove my head someplace unpleasant"! And he had every right to feel that way. I was frustrated. And exhausted!! Seriously.. I'm suddenly SOOOOO out of shape! I was huffing and puffing. So, yep.. must get back to running. (And as I'm typing this I have just finished stuff my face with peppermint cookie dough... but it's PEPPERMINT!!!... argh.. I'm doomed!). I just can't find the balance between a slow tempo and consistent rhythm but with enough power. I close my leg and let him run, or I take my leg off and he's "soft" but underpowered. Sigh... I was getting the hang of getting him supple through his topline and soft but just wouldn't close my leg. So then I'd gun him at it and would close my leg but wouldn't get the suppleness. So poor Fleck was forced to take giant flyers or chip in and heave himself over. Argh... Towards the end of our ride, I started to get it. I literally had to sing "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" to help get my rhythm and had to pop him a few times with the whip because I just couldn't convince my legs to move apparently. Sigh... Beth was more pleased than me and set the jumps up. Argh.... I did forewarn her that I was getting the urge to get more pace and she told me NO! ;)
I finally remembered to put my helmet camera on and... lo and behold, I suddenly learned how to ride! I was able to sit down, close my leg, and ride him into my soft hand, while maintaining the rhythm and keeping him supple. Thank God!!! He was that close to giving up on me. So yay!!! And then we went again and I had a bit of a haphazard line but he was getting tired. We're both out of shape I guess. I wanted to finish on a nice positive forward line, so we went one more time. And it was good. We landed nicely after the first jump and so I kicked on a bit to go for the five. Only, he landed nicely.. not gunning, so we had to make a large stretch for the five. But he did it. My brain was thinking that it wasn't the chip, so the 6 was going to be too short. Doh. So we came one last time ( ;) ) and did it in 6... nicely! :) yay!!!
Link to helmet cam of a course!
Link to the line
Still working on keeping my right shoulder up and back, my right knee in a bit, and keeping his canter soft and supple. He doesn't have to be "on the bit" but he has to not be inverted. So yay... finally a good day. We finished on a good note and we both got a bit more confidence back.
So then he got to hang out at the trailer in his ice while I took Tucker out for a XC spin. I think he's done it before ;) He really is a cool horse. He reminds me a lot of Fleck. He's almost a packer, bomb proof, stoic guy. You can tack him up and he doesn't move, sit on him with no reins, no stirrups, and remove your jacket, and he doesn't move. He doesn't care. But you put your leg on and he's off! He's a safe sane guy but a whole lot of fun! He's got a good go button. He's still needing some retraining which is great. He rides a lot like Fleck but he tells on me. So when I start hanging... his nose goes straight up in the air. He throws that right shoulder out and veers, and if I try to correct it the wrong way...he veers harder! So we worked on riding the shoulders, half halt and RELEASE but keeping the connection and not throwing it away, keeping my right shoulder up and back, and all the other things I'm working on. It took me a few times, but once I sat down and RODE, we got it. I think I've got him figured out. He walked over the ditch like it was nothing. He walked up and down the back like it was nothing. Heck, he even trotted the up and down banks like they were nothing. Cantered into the water without skipping a beat! But he locks onto the jumps and gets a little carried away. Which is where I fall apart. But like I said, we fixed it mostly. And we even finished with a nice huntery canter to the water, through and back to Beth. :)