Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Another Good Lesson & Some Jumping - Yehaw!

I shall stop making empty promises to keep posts short and to the point, as I appear to be incapable of doing so...once again apologies in advance.
However, in saying that, if you are in anyway a regular reader of this blog - this info will be of no suprise to you, ;-)
I do however promise two pictures of her ladyship & fieldmate - back safely in said field, nice and calm taken yesterday evening.

One to whet your whistles - two calm girlies after their adventures, long may it last!
First up, I had another flat lesson with L (The Guru) in my GP saddle yesterday (Tuesday) evening, rescheduled from Monday due to a certain Madam's escapades and quest for a Pizza Hut @ stupid o'clock in the morning!
Upon another L's (old online friend & wonderful blogger @ Viva Carlos) advice after watching my lesson vids from Saturday, I shortened my stirrups a hole and am so glad I did - Thank you very much for that gem! My left rein canter was much better, I was brave and attempted it with my stirrups (only cantered without stirrups on Saturday so as not to flopidy-flop on poor Kika) and straight off the bat my legs stayed more secure and *shock-horror* my heels stayed down!
In the immortal words of British Comedian Justin Lee Collins - GOOD TIMES!

But I'm getting ahead of myself there - reel it in Aoife & start at the beginning!
*Le Sigh - I hear ye say* - teehee

Warmed up on my own - walk & trot, serpentines, circles, volts, changes of rein, figures of eight - really concentrating on keeping The Guru L's advice from Saturday in mind, namely hold more with the outside rein when circling and ask for the bend with inside leg. L sidled in after turning her horse out and watched us working away not saying much - which as it turns out meant I was doing well on my own and she didn't feel the need to comment at that time.
She then got stuck in and said I have to better prepare my turns (whether changeing rein/figure of 8/circles etc) to coax & guide Kika into them to give her time to know what I am after so as not to loose the run of herself and turn too sharly. Here she re-iterated the need to "brake" with my outside hand and to move my outside leg back just a small bit to keep Kika from drifting.
We also worked on "suppling" to coax Kika's bend towards the inside when working as she is inclined to look outside the whole time - twisting herself into an S-shape, I am now to pay extra attention and concentrate on being able to see her inside eye as we are working - I have to be stricter on the right rein then the left. So we altered the bend between the inside and the outside on the long sides of the arena a couple of times after our successful left rein canter (mentioned above).

Then onto the right rein canter, what I thought of as our better canter as unlike on the left-hand side she wasn't going around with her head up like a Giraffe, throwing her front legs about. But in saying that she is inclined to lean a lot more on my hands on the right rein then the left.
S2S magazine's friendly forum osteo offered me an insightful theory as to why this was happening after having viewed the previous lessons videos;

"One thing that might help - if your Osteo or someone similar can show you how to switch on your core and keep your lower ribs stable without tightening I think you'll find your straightness (both in lines and on circles) really improves. I noticed you're a bandit like me for dropping through the base of your ribs - effectively collapsing the hip and lowering the same shoulder. You were actually doing it on the right rein canter to the left, which may be why she was bracing more than you'd hope for??"
I must sort myself out with an osteo - I keep meaning to make an appointment with Kika's osteo as she also works with humans - sign of a horsey-person...the animal receives better care than the human - am I right?
Any readers notice this trend? Teehee

To work on our issues with this rein The Guru had me in sitting trot on a volt around her holding ("braking") with my outside hand while releasing with my inside rein which I found really hard to do as am after recently discovering a new nasty habit of mine - namely that my inside hand (in this case the right hand - two guesses as to why, darn dominant hand) is too controlling. For all intensive purposes it would appear that I invariably have things arseways!
The outside hand is to control while the inside hand is to act in a give&take capacity - no wonder we have been having problems - always something new to work on and think about, which is great! (sincerely - I am not being sarcastic there)

Needless to say my arms are quite tender today, probably a combination of the leaning - we were on that small sircle for quite a while till I got it right and the actual propper use of my limbs when riding for a change.
Again my brain was interfereing with itself and I had trouble distinguishing between the inside and outside hand and which one to send the messages to...does this happen to anyone else or am I just completely bonkers?!
I also get in my own way when trying to do lateral work, although I did find that exercise a bit better on Saturday - "What was she like before?" - I hear you ask horriefied...Answer: "Best not to know" *shame-faced*
All I will say is my horse is a saint to put up with a confusing numpty like me, ;-)
Although she certainly has her own quirks to her also, so I guess on some twisted/sordid level we balance each other out...probably corrupt each other more like...but whatever - so long as we're happy.
Which I am, :-p

After all that waffle; we did manage some good sitting trot circling without leaning and even got some non- leaning right-rein canter work, but for more consistency ... that is going to take considerably more work.
All in all I finished up a very happy girl! 

Lord this is getting long again - sorry!
I think it's time for the second picture (aka bribery/reward - whatever way you want to call it)

Here's hoping she stays put as of now! I promise the field isn't as bare as it looks in the patch - that's near the entrance

On to jumping today...

Wednesday is Jumping Lesson day at the yard. An external instructor comes in and does lessons in the afternoon over a course set up by the resident Riding Instructor (RI) on a Wednesday morning. Sometimes I am lucky and the lessons finish up early enough that I can ask them to leave the fences up for a pop around myself or under L's watchful eye and we then clear them all away when finished.
As it happens I had booked this afternoon off work to run some errands - namely only available time for my hairdresser to cut my hair so I went whole hogg & asked for the day off. This meant I was sneakily able to have a pop around the fences before the lessons started for the afternoon & that I could then be vain, get my hair cut and not have to put it straight into a helmet and ruin the effect before anyone might see it ... the only time it ever looks half way decent is after the hairdresser has been at it - can you tell I'm terribly un-Girly-girl? * the Shame*

Long story not so short, I was on a time-limit, arrived at yard at 2pm had to be on bus at 3.30/3.40 latest to be in town on time for my 4pm appointment to get sheared.
I managed to be in the saddle by 2.20, proceeded to warm herself up, keeping in mind yesterday's lessons and trying to get her circling correctly paying attention to my hands - I won't pretend it was perfect or flawless as I was distracted and acutely aware of the little time I had left myself.

Trotted over a couple of fences, was very happy when she waited for my cue for the first few, but then started to get a bit ahead of herself trying to pre-empt my next move with some Giraffe impressions thrown in for good measure as the excitment took hold. However she'd come back to me between fences and was fine on the corners/turns prior to fences - but one/two strides out the behaving lark would get to much for her and up pops the head with a bit of a bounce as if to say "Waaaaahhhhhheeee".
Bless her she does love her jumping!
Strung a few fences together and despite my original intentions we did canter them after the first one was popped - finished on two run throughs of a double composed of a smallish oxer followed by a higher straight upright with a higher again cross of poles either side, but obviously the height jumped was height of straight bar/middle of cross-poles - sorry I realise that that most likely makes no sense!

We won't be winning any style prizes for todays efforst, but considering where we'd left off with our jumping lessons with the previous jumping instructor in November 2010 - where she was rushing her fences something awful, not to mention the plungeing/bucking on landing. Then the lessons with L last summer where I was still very much a nervous wreck after all her misbahing carry-on during that winter/spring. I think we are doing well - if I may say so myself!
Admittedly I later learnt that the saddle I had bought the previous month (October 2010) likely never fitted her and was most likely a major contributor to her bad behaviour - so it really wasn't her fault at all!
Lessons with L Sept 2011 were in current GP saddle - which thankfully does appear to fit!

Right...I best shut up now, sorry again for all the waffle - hopefully you haven't nodded off and are still with me!
Come to think of it I'm not sure two aimless field photos were really reward/bribery enough for such a wordy addition to the blog!

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