Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jumping with a dash of dressage

Fun day today! I hauled Flecky up to Wishing Tree for another grid day. Beth always has such fun grids. We started with a long grid - ground poles working up to fences with ground poles. Then we added another grid... bounce pole to crossrail oxer, four strides, to another cross rail oxer and a bounce pole. Those were tough. Especially because I seemed to have lost steering all of a sudden. I don't know what I was doing, but I suddenly couldn't steer and resorted to flinging my hands all over the place. Sigh.. but once I sat down and rode him into my connection, it was much better. Still not thrilled with my ride today but it was a good lesson. Just frustrated with myself. We ended with a fairly decent round with some crazy lines, so that was good. And I managed to get some lead changes today too! When I asked :) Yay!

So then.. at the end of my lesson I told Beth I had a dressage question. I was getting pretty frustrated the other day and couldn't figure it out. I knew if I didn't ask her, I would continue to fight it and get flustered and take it out on Fleck. Or even just confuse him more. I told her that it felt like he was very much popping his right shoulder out and overflexing to the left when we were tracking left. I felt like I couldn't get him into the right rein because when I closed my inside leg, he would throw that shoulder out. So then maybe I was closing my outside leg trying to get him to straighten up. ??? She got on and felt him out and said that basically... I need to quit overthinking it. I need to set myself up properly and then let him come to me. But to give him time. I think that's what is happening. I'm asking inside leg to outside rein, but then freaking out too quickly that he's evading and then contorting myself to try to fix it. Which then puts my position out of place which means he can't be correct. So she worked him a bit and got him looking nicely. She told me that I also needed a pretty strong connection on the outside rein. But not to hold it without being elastic. But I also didn't need to give it away, especially going right.
So I got back on and tried it. Holy crapballs!! Flecky felt NICE! He was up and straight in the withers and his back was lifted. NICE!!! And actually, I was able to get him to do it too. There was a bit of shenanigans and his shifting. Beth reminded me to keep my inside leg (especially the right one) at the girth!!! If I put it at the girth it signals for him to bend. If it slips back, like it tends to do, it's telling him to throw his haunches out. So... what it felt like to me... was to keep riding inside leg to outside hand, but to use that outside hand to block him from flying out the outside shoulder. But not by hanging... by half halting. And amazingly enough.. I had a half-halt! It was nice!!! I opted to just trot both ways and canter both ways and then quit. He had already been jumping awhile and it was hot and he was tired. But it was AWESOME! I wanted to keep doing it. But I didn't. So now.. just to remember that when I ride tomorrow (hopefully). :) 

I swear... I amaze myself at how disoriented I get. It's NOT THAT HARD HOLLY!! Seriously... inside leg to outside rein. I know this... I *thought* I was doing it.. but now I realize I"m totally not. And it's not like people aren't telling me to do that. I don't know how my brain and body get so twisted around..  Jeesh... It's a good thing Flecky is such a saint. Sigh....

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