Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jumping Success.... I love this new ride

This week was a light week because of work. Tuesday was our dressage lesson and I think we just worked on more of the same. But he felt pretty good. Oh wait!!! Cindy did tell me to think about riding his cheek bones in line with his scapulas. It really helped. I need to straighten Fleck so that he's not overbent. Which feels like counterbent, but it's not. It's straight.

Then Thursday I rode Fleck while waiting on Kelli. We did 15 minutes of walking, finding as many hills as we could. Then we did 30 minutes of trotting and cantering, again finding as many hills as we could. I trotted up hills as I thought that would work his butt better than cantering up hills. Then we did 15 minutes of trotting up the hills and walking down the hills. Then we met up with Kelli and went for a little hack.

Friday I went to the Sandra clinic in the morning to watch and then adjusted 8 horses at Halliea's farm. So definitely no riding. But Saturday, it was on. :) Liz and I were planning to ride but she ended up only bringing Party because King got kicked. So... I rode Fleck first and did our hill work and then she met us out there to watch us jump. We did 15 minutes of walking hills, then 30 minutes of trotting and cantering hills, finishing a few laps in the XC field. I think we did at least 500 strides of canter. Not really sure what that relates too, but.. I counted. It was super humid and muggy and Fleck was breathing pretty heavy. So we chilled in the shade and then went to the lake for a minute.

Then Liz showed up. She had me jump over a few and said that I was compressing him. But not in a good way. I was just shutting him down and shortening him. So she had me jump over the log a few times and ride him like Devon. She wanted me to sit very lightly, but sit, and then to keep my reins slightly longer and let him have his head. But to balance him, I was supposed to sit up with my chest and keep my shoulders up and back. No tipping forward. And it was nice! Suddenly I didn't feel so lost and off my game. I could find the distance because the canter was balanced. And it felt right! :) So then we made up a course. And it wasn't great. I lost it a few times and kept tipping forward and running him flat. Or shutting him down. BUT... I did circle and mostly fix it.
 Then at the end, Liz reminded me to balance with my body, keep my hands aligned with his cheekbones and scapula and my elbows, and to just ride him like dressage. E cube it. :) She also said his gallop was awful. It was inverted and hollow and scrambly. I agree. So she wants me to essentially stay more upright (which feels like a dressage seat almost to me, but I know it's not) and balance him that way. So we jumped over the coop and I channeled my inner Devon and it was lovely. Then he didn't bolt on landing and we galloped on. I stayed upright but not sitting and he was happy. We balanced in the corner and then headed to the roll top line. I balanced and lifted my shoulders and core, kept my crotch soft, and.... he nailed it! And then the most crazy thing happened. I didn't touch his face. I just stayed balanced in my upper body and..... good gravy!! It was like I was suddenly riding Dan. Fleck dropped a gear and opened up, but it was a real gallop!! A real prelim gallop. He was stretching his stride out instead of getting quick and choppy. And he ate up that line and nailed the second fence. It was awesome!
Jumping machine
So...that's my new way to ride Fleck. I think it's going to help him and his soundness. :) I hope I can keep it up.

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