Get it Flecky!!
So...God bless good friends, great horses, and beautiful weather. I don't know what kind of funk I was in, how I got there, or why even... but it was horrible. I spent the last two days crying on my way home from working all day. Sigh... And just feeling downright horrible. I felt like I was failing in everything...riding, bringing up Dan, being a wife, being a chiro, being a vet, being a daughter/sister/cousin/aunt/daughter-in-law, etc. And I half assed tossed around the idea of quitting ponies for a bit. Like I said.. horrible funk. But then.... God threw me a bone.
I almost didn't want to ride with Liz and Peri because I was just so frustrated. But I'm so glad I did. They fixed me. They cheered me up. They helped me see the sunshine again. And God bless Peri because I know she is having a really rough time right now. So I'm glad she got to enjoy herself too. How kind of her to pick me up when she needs it more. But anyways... point being... it fixed my funk. :)
So,yeah baby...We had fun! Fleck was still not perfect. And God knows, neither was I! But it was helpful and we made progress. We set up grid number 2 and started through it. Fleck was maintaining his speed a bit more. And we worked on some flat work before. Then Kelli joined in too and between the 3 of them we determined a few things that really helped me.
I tend to straighten my elbows and drop my hands a lot and that makes him invert. All the freakin' time! So... Liz had me think about grabbing my boobs. Hee hee. Not the prettiest, but it worked. Jump, jump, jump, boobies!! Hee hee. She told me to ride him like it was her horse. She had me hop on Party and I was so worried about not messing Party up that I rode nicely. She had me ride Fleck like that. Soft and lifted hands with my leg on. I had to also think about a "soft crotch". No more driving his withers into the ground. I thought about lifting up his withers with my crotch and bringing his back up to me.
So we went through the grid and before I took him down the line, I had to get him supple and up in his back. I accomplished that by almost ping ponging him laterally. Rather than grab that shoulder when it gets away from me, Liz suggested I almost do the opposite. Throw him farther onto that shoulder so that I'm almost pushing him off balance so he has to catch himself and balance himself. I'm not holding him up that way but he's soft and supple. It worked. But only if I kept my hands up and kept a soft seat. Then we could jump. And admittedly, I had to sometimes swing his barrel from left to right and left again going into the line, but it worked. He stayed soft and supple and jumped well.
And then upon landing, he would scoot a bit, especially when going right at first. I panicked because he was scrambling and I thought he was going to fall. We decided it was a bit of both of us. Liz didn't feel that Fleck was hurting but more anticipating hurt so he was scrambling. I made a very conscious effort to not grab and then each time we turned right he became softer and quieter. Yay! That's a smart horse that has learned and accepted it doesn't hurt anymore, not a horse that still hurts. :) So then I had to think about riding straighter and not just motorcycling to the right. Which was hard. ;) We also realized that I was collapsing my right side and if I thought about opening my right hip (like with Kathryn) that made a huge help. I also had to grab for my boobs (hee hee... lift my hands) and not grab his face when he scooted. Just let him go and settle him by leg yielding/lateral work. And interestingly enough, he started coming back quicker and quicker.
Then we tried to add a line. Well... it sort of worked. We both got worked up and while I was able to half halt some and let go some, we still jumped it a bit strong and quick. However, it wasn't quite as flat as usual, but still not how he's jumping the grids. Then we tried to make a wide oxer to see if that would encourage him to pat down to the base. Ha!! Fleck laughs at our wide oxer attempts and just jumps longer. hee hee. So then I decided that it might work better if I tried it from a normal approach without a line or the grid before. It was hilarious. And maddening! I could get this soft supple canter with him being beautiful... all down the long side. But the second to last stride, I couldn't help myself. I changed and let him change and he jumped it like we always do. Sigh. I just... couldn't make myself hold it. I don't want to basically hold him into a frame to jump. That scares me. And I *know* that the canter he is in feels amazing and like he could jump the moon, but I just don't trust it yet over decent sized fences. And I *know* that I'm not cranking his face down and he can easily use his head and neck to jump, but still keep his back up. But in my mind, he either won't use his head and neck because he hasn't or doesn't think he can, or I'll snatch him and he can't. So... it scares me. BUT... I think that if I can keep doing it, I'll get to where I trust it more and he trusts it more and we can do it. And then..... then, it's on!! :)
So yep... a VERY encouraging day and one I'm so grateful for. I needed that. :)
Ahhhhh........ happy Holly
Alas, no pictures or videos despite there being at least 2 phones there. Doh!