Saturday, January 24, 2015

Run and Jump All of the Jumps!

Sweetness!!! It felt so good to be back and jumping!!! Fleck agreed. :) It was a beautiful day to haul to Full Gallop and go XC schooling.
I adjusted Fleck before we went out and as I was doing it a group of people came up and were chatting with us. They asked if they could take our picture. Hee hee... Fleck is such a superstar. :)
Then we headed out and Fleck was a bit of a turd at first. He was so excited to be out there that he was running off and wouldn't bend and wouldn't supple. Beth had me canter him in a circle and spiral him in and out and he settled somewhat. We started jumping and after a bit, he calmed down and was ridable. He jumped everything we aimed him at without hesitation! He was feeling good!

Beth knew I wanted to tackle my trakehner so after some warming up we went to the training trakenher. Fleck jumped it fine but it felt skittery. Yes... that's a word! ;) So Beth looks at me and says "You're going to hate me"... and I said "nope.... I'm not... and you're going to make me trot it, aren't you?!". Yep! She said that we were just running at it. I told her I thought that it was all Fleck and not me. But she said that my energy was telling him to run and even if it wasn't, I wasn't telling him to NOT run. So still my fault. :) So... we trotted it. A couple of times. Both directions. And finally, it wasn't even remotely scary and we started jumping it lofty and floaty and not ... skittery. :) yay!
So then we carried on and Fleck jumped the privet fence like a boss. We jumped the water in and out with the upright fence at the edge. The water wasn't very full so Beth said if it had been more full, I would have needed to jump a bit more cautiously in. If we had gone in like we did the first time we jumped it (basically strong and leaving out a stride) and the water was full, we would have had a lot of drag on the backside and I would have risked getting flung off because of the stop of the forward momentum. But if I collected him and show jumped it a bit more (show jump on steroids) he would have dropped into it instead of flinging and it would have been much smoother. Aha! So we practiced that and it was smoother.

Then onto the trakehner... The prelim one. I asked if Beth was going to make me trot it. Heee! I'm actually surprised she didn't. But she did say that if I came in too fast, she would! She said that Fleck needs time to see and plan on the "scary" jumps. If I give him time to think, he will jump it fine. If I run him at it, he can't plan and so he runs out. So I came super slow to it and it was glorious! Okay, it wasn't super slow... it was normal speed but at least we weren't running. But by having him slightly slow and balanced and rocked back, I was able to move him up to it at the last step or two when I saw my distance and he jumped it lovely! We did it a few more times and once was even too slow and he had to heave over it, but it was a non-issue. So it was nice that we learned how to go slow and think it through. I really think it'll be helpful. Because not only is it helping Fleck see what he needs to navigate, it's helping me see my distance and thus I can react! Rather than just hope and pray. ;) I think I can use this for ALL my scary jumps! ha... I mentioned this to Beth and she just rolled her eyes at me. Like..."duh! I've been trying to tell you that for eons!". :)

So then we moved on to the banks and we did the double up and down bounce banks again. Jeesh those are scary! But kinda fun. Fleck has a tendency to stop halfway down because I'm being dumb up top. So we learned that while I need to lean way back, I can't pick my hands up. I think I'm holding his head up and keeping us from falling but in reality... by holding his head up, I'm hollowing out his back and causing his back legs to stop, which makes us stop in the middle and makes it awfully hard on him. So what I need to do is actually push DOWN with my hands onto his wither. Thus giving him his head and not messing with his back, AND.... pushing myself up off his neck, which is where I tend to want to land. We got better... well, he was great. I got better, but not perfect, but I didn't want to punish him and keep doing it. The double up went much smoother.

Then we headed to the water and my only issue there was that I was asking him to jump down off a bend and Beth said it was much wiser to jump straight into the water, then bend. Duh. And Fleck was a big boy and even big boy jumped into the water. No patting the ground first.

Whoo hooo. We finished with a big gallopy rampy fence and I had to ride better to get a better more balanced NOT FLAT gallop. But we did.

Fun fun day. Both of us were very happy to be back out and about and jumping. And Fleck felt great over the prelim stuff. :)

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