I got a jump lesson on Saturday morning, went to a baby shower in the afternoon, had a date with my husband in the evening (Orcs Must Die 2, if you must know). Then brunch in Santa Barbara Sunday morning followed by Storm's memorial in the afternoon in Valencia. I wasn't as productive as I had planned on being in terms of dishes and grocery shopping and such. But sometimes taking care of your soul needs to be prioritized - that's productive too in its own way.
Saturday felt good. The sun was out, with a refreshing breeze. I got to the barn early to clip off some of Hemie's fuzzles. He is hating shedding out. He gives me the evil stare with angry ears whenever I get the curry out. Turns out racing TBs on the west coast get body clipped every year - who knew? I decided to give him a trace clip to help him out, but I ran out of time so he got just a small bib clip. We will see how much more I take off in the coming weeks. I feel bad for the guy, but I don't want to pay for blanketing either.
Anyways, we saddled up and went to a new arena (#2 of 8) for our jump lesson. It went really well - we worked on:
- bending right
- lighter contact through the jump course, especially before jumps
Bending right is certainly improving. As a rider I need to make sure I sit deep and tall and don't lean forward or to the inside. Specifically we're working on bending right without falling in, taking incredible concentration ensuring outside rein is out wide, inside leg is up on his shoulder preventing the fall in (and decreasing size circles), and inside rein turning while holding whip over leg to touch his hip to encourage hind legs out. Its like patting my head and rubbing my belly while walking and chewing bubble gum.
Jumping was fabulous - we did a nice little course of about 5 jumps, and I had a great aha! moment. Laurie had me focusing on being light with my reins and encouraging more forward. This is mentally challenging for me - it's hard for me to trust him, I guess. Well, we worked on it quite a bit and of course it got easier as I went along. Hemie appreciated it and rewarded it with a steady rhythm. When he got fast to a jump, I just did a solid half-halt afterwards and continued on. No big deal. Though I think I'll need to do that a few more times before it truly feels like no big deal. My inclination is to be overly slow and in his face.
So now for the aha moment. As I was focusing on being less handsy, I realized coming to the jumps that his hip would sometimes drift right. My first reaction was to pick up my reins to straighten him, but then the light bulb came on - that's what LEGS are for. OOOoooh. Right leg back a tad, and voila! Straightness, while being light in the mouth. Overall Hemie, Laurie, and I had a fun time.