Wednesday 12 September 2012

Jumping Jealousy

Besides the obvious jealousy of international riders and anyone who is out competing regularly - I have found myself jealous of myself.

Caution - Crazy Person Writing...

Not that I think myself a wonderful rider: FAR FROM IT...But I am jealous of how I rode in last week jumping lesson compared to this evening's - which is incredibly ironic as I was a bundle of nerves throughout last weeks lesson and couldn't seem to ease the knots in my stomach!
As a result of persevering, powering through & surviving last weeks lesson I went into today's lesson a lot more positive if still slightly apprehensive as we again were riding outside under lights - which makes for wonderful opportunities for Kika to remain tense and spook. Although in saying that, she didn't spook this evening but was tense at the start...more than likely a result of my being apprehensive as we warmed up prior to L's arrival - amazing how a pair of eyes on the ground and a voice keeping you out of your own head can have a wonderfully positive effect on your riding and as such your's & your horse's mental well being!

We warmed up over a pole on the ground to a cross pole on a diagonal off each rein from both directions, from which I had to keep Kika cantering after the fence. Once happy with our execution of that a combination of two fences down the longside of the arena was added which we had to keep our canter to and if we landed on the wrong lead we had to come back to trot and strike off correctly before doing the combination. Despite not getting my line for the middle of the combination fences correctly we managed to get our turn and not rush them - which is saying something.
The exercise then changed to keeping the canter from the pole & cross pole to a vertical on a curved line immediately after (we had been going around this one to get to the combination) - from memory it was approx 3 strides although I am nowhere near counting strides when jumping. We then turned back on ourselves to over another vertical down the diagonal - L would let me know when I landed from the first vertical whether we were on the correct lead to continue or not.
Rode the three fences a second time, continuing on after the diagonal vertical down the arena turning before another upright across the lower end of the arena to come up through the combination - that rode very smoothly for us.

Things then got a little more complicated as we had to ride the first three fences again, but this time after the vertical on the diagonal down the arena we had to keep our line to the longside to get the turn right handed to the vertical across the middle of the arena by the gate. I got my striding & take-off all wrong on the vertical down the diagonal and had to leave Kika to herself to get us over the fence while hoping to not get left behind thereby jabbing her in the mouth - needless to say I didn't get my turn to the vertical across the arena!
On the next attempt, it was slightly better however we still weren't going to our turn so I circled around the fence then jumped it across the arena.

L changed our course a couple more times, twisting and turning us in different directions so that by the end we'd jumped all the fences from each side - sorry my descriptive skills aren't good enough to keep attempting to describe the courses...that and I'm after forgetting some of them!

The things I have to take away from our lesson to work on is:
- to pick my lines prior to starting the course(s) and stick to them;
- always aim for the middle of the fence;
- if i'm not going to get the turn, we're to stay cantering to circle - not come back to walk/trot or Kika won't realise we are still doing the course and loose her va-va-voom;
- find a way to get her va-va-voom working while maintaining steering and control prior to fences but we need more lift off over the obstacles.
The last one is a to be worked on - I'm thinking if I can give her a slap with the stick on take-off I'll get my lift off ... must remember to try that next week when I'm feeling less wussy, hopefully!

All in all I am a happy camper with how things went, even if I thought our rhythm and va-va-voom were lacking compared to last week. However L was very happy with how we got on - while highlighting the above things to be worked on. We'll get there once I can sort out my head again we'll do a lot better, I think as the lessons move back inside and out of the floodlights at night both Kika and I will be better able to concentrate at the job at hand and be less distracted - I don't know which one of us is worse.
Probably me though - as I should know better! ;-)


  1. No matter how much I ride and show I still can't get out of my head, so if you can figure it out let me know!

  2. I think we will always be in our heads, its learning not to let my brain scream 'what ifs' at me on approach. I am starting to remember to just take a slow deep breath and tell the voices to back off, my trainer usually yells enough for me to think about.

    1. Thanks guys - if I figure it out it'll be a serious "EUREKA" moment and will have to be shared with the world! Hahaha

      I have to say it's less the what ifs that get me stuck in my head so much as "don't let her freak out" & "don't I freak out and tense if she does" .. vicious cycle as always!

      Thanks for reading, must go catch up with your adventures now. :)


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