Sunday lesson part 2! (pictures and video)

Alright, time for the fun part. If you suffered through yesterday’s recap of the flatwork portion in Part One you deserve a cookie. Instead you get to read Part Two. Sorry.

God help us all
God help us all, here she goes

Our warmup fence was a little green astroturf covered coop, about 2’6″. We were to canter this off the left then off the right, etc etc repeatedly until something good happened. The first time over I got reprimanded for chicken wings, which I definitely find myself doing sometimes on this horse. I needed to make sure I was moving my hands forward in the release, not just laying my body down on top of them. I also was still turning my head in the air – I DON’T KNOW WHY I DO THIS but I’ve been tying to stop for years. Seriously, why is my head on a swivel? If I don’t 100% concentrate, it never stays straight. And of course subsequently my body doesn’t stay straight either. So – sit up, hands forward, head straight.

I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight...
I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight…
cluck clucks 4 life

My friend Amy was both photographer and videographer so she did the best she could. I tried to cut out all the excess.

We cantered that jump a few more times with marginal success so we got to graduate to a different jump, a big oxer crossrail. The center was still little so no big deal although it looked a little impressive visually when you were cantering up to it. Off we went again jumping it off both directions repeatedly. A theme started to emerge here… jumping off the right never went quite as easily. Remember what I said yesterday about him carrying his haunches to the right? That of course translates into crooked horse and crooked approach to the jumps. So, I had to focus on controlling those wayward haunches.

Well, at least I’m releasing?
Cute poneh being cute

It also became apparent that I’m making a twofold error in my adjustments.

1) I’m waiting too late after the jump to re-establish my pace and balance. This should happen before the corner, not in it. Once I’m in the corner I should just be maintaining, because it’s too late to still be trying to get my rhythm and balance back. Yes this is common knowledge, but it’s a really bad habit of mine to wait until the corner and I really need to be more aware of it.

2) When I do make an adjustment I should always use my seat first. Henry is pretty sensitive and needs very little aid to make these minor adjustments, so it’s very rare that I ever need to use a lot of leg or hand when jumping this horse. When I do, it usually creates an over-adjustment. So always try just the seat first.

We got those things ironed out a bit better and actually had a few really lovely jumps in a row, earning several “good”s. Those are hard to come by.

More talking. We talk a lot.
More talking. We talk a lot.

Then we moved over to the white box with a pole over it, which was maybe 3′. In trainer’s words “still a tiny jump” (easy to say when you’re a  six-time Bolivian National Champion, former president of the Bolivian National Federation of Equestrian Sports and member of the Bolivian National Olympic committee, I suppose) but I’m just a peon and it looks a little bit on the bigger side to me when I’m on what is still a pretty green horse. And of course since it looked a little big to me, the first thing I did was try to attack it. Because that helps.

Come here, tiny jump, let me totally over-ride you!
Come here, tiny jump, let me totally over-ride you!
Too early but you get the idea

Trainer immediately nixed that behavior and had me practice waiting, waiting, waiting and just sitting up and supporting the horse all the way to the base – something my Certified Leaner self is not good at. We also practiced landing and immediately making a turn rather than continuing straight ahead, without me letting my body get crooked in the air in the process. This tied in what we’d practiced earlier about getting him back before the corner to ensure better turns. We did it, and it actually wasn’t heinous, and by that point Henry was breathing pretty hard so we quit while we were ahead.

Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps. I’m so excited about this type of work, I really thrive on the little details and I think this is what we really need to start moving up to the next level. I’m getting so much out of these lessons!


24 thoughts on “Sunday lesson part 2! (pictures and video)

    1. Ugh with my boy just starting under saddle work so that’s all my trainer is doing (walk lessons with just a dash of trot thrown in for fun) – but it’s good. I’m hoping to fix some old bad habits at the walk so I’m a more solid seat as we progress further in the trot.


  1. I second what Alicia says! But it sounds like you are making progress, and even baby step progress is better than no progress at all 🙂

    LOVE LOVE LOVE all the pictures and video!


    1. I love baby step progress, because at least it’s progress. I get really frustrated being told that something is good when I know it’s not, so I much prefer someone that is super picky and hard to please. I want to do it WELL, not passably good, and the only way to get there is through baby steps.


      1. Couldn’t agree more! I’ve only ever had trainers that were hard to please, but I honestly prefer it that way. When you’ve done something correctly, YOU KNOW IT 🙂


  2. These lessons sound really great. I love that there are always details to improve on and it’s great to have an instructor who helps you improve rather than just reminding you that you’re still not getting it.


    1. Exactly! Everything I’m told to do is definitely within my ability, but pushing it. If I’m not 100% focused and “on it”, it doesn’t happen. I really thrive off of that, it forces me to rise to the occasion every time, and I always leave the ring with lots to work on.


  3. Amanda, fantastic updates. Seriously cute photos. I swivel a bit when I jump, too – thinking about the next step before I’m through what I’m doing. It’s a bad habit in all aspects of my life ….


  4. Love all the photos & advice sounds fab. Every little helps!
    Baby steps & bite size portions of advice, with lots of talk & disecting, are the best way to move forward.

    Really hope I can get my backside back in lessons when trainer gets back from her holiday!


  5. He sounds SO MUCH like the trainer I rode with in Florida. I love him. Lots of talking, praise only when deserved, can get right to the heart of the problem.


  6. Looks like y’all are really working hard! Glad you seem to be doing well with the new coach. Sometimes it’s nice for a fresh set of eyes to point out different things. Love the blue belt, where did you get it?


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