Phew... I needed that! It was a good lesson though. Beth said my new leg position was good! I really think just slightly pushing my butt back in the saddle makes a big difference. It just puts my leg slightly in front of me, allowing me to close my leg at the girth and keep my heels down. It also keeps me from pitching my shoulders forward and thus pinching and pivoting at the knee. Yay! Of course my legs are sore now. It's a slightly different feel so I'm having to use slightly different muscles.
But yep... our lesson was good. We started out pretty well and Beth told me to focus on his shoulder. She said that 70% of our issue right now was me losing his shoulder. Especially on cross country. The faster he goes, the more obvious it becomes. So she told me to NOT correct it by just counter bending him. I laughed and said that I had been riding with her too long - she knew all my tricks! So... then how do I fix it?! Sitting down in the tack, sitting him on his hiney and using the outside rein to keep him straight. So we started and I had some really beautiful jumps! Like "WOW!" jumps. He rocked back on his butt and the canter was just there.
Then she set up all the fences and had me do a course. Egads!! We started fine over the first one and then it just went all downhill. I think I was more just hanging out, along for the ride, because it wasn't horrible, but we kept getting to this awkward distance and he was taking these really long spots. And I would get left behind and then we'd scramble and my reins were too long to then collect him back to his hind end for the next fence. We got around clean but with much grunting and heaving and eeks. Beth said that I wasn't sitting him on his butt and I was letting him lengthen to the fence. Aha! That's why I was getting to that funky distance... I wouldn't, but because I let him lengthen, we'd end up there.
So then I sat up and rode better. Not just alternating rein half halts without getting any response... but I sat up and rode. He jumped the first oxer fine and then kinda wimped over the first of the second slightly long line. I landed and gunned him so that we made the 4 and then he sat up and paid attention. Then I rode his shoulder, but kept his jaw supple (thinking DRESSAGE IT!) and viola! It worked! He didn't lengthen and we had some lovely fences.
Few! We quit with that. I was tired! It was a LOT of work riding that way. Yep... I remember that. I need to ride hard at prelim. Ride like Boyd or Buck and get it done! This isn't the hunter ring. :) And by ride hard, I mean that I need to ride every stride.... whether that's realizing all is well and just closing my leg or realizing I'm losing a shoulder or just keeping him rocked back on his hiney... I need to not just float around.
So yep... hoping we're ready for pine top this weekend. It came up rather quickly. Eeeks!!! At least we're only doing P/T. Hopefully we can survive. I'm glad Beth jacked the fences up though because it was a little bit "eeeks, they're big again!".
I went ahead and clipped Fleck again too. And his butt is pink!!! Like he'll need suntan lotion if he's not in his clothes pink. Hee hee... He has some lines too but oh well. He was too furry for pine top.