This clinic was partly funded by the JT voucher Jasper won at Rodbaston last year – donated to me by Mrs Chalmers! It was a BE run clinic as pre-JAS training. Very cold again today. We set off in plenty of tine and a good job too – the postcode was not correct so I had to phone Chris to guide me in from Google maps at home!
Home Farm was a lovely big indoor arena with lots of different jumps and combinations set out – good to remember that the arena is open for hire – and only half an hour away from home. There were three others in the training session today – with 2 of the horses going Novice this coming season.
During the warm up we trotted and then cantered on either rein over very skinny ground poles between flower pots – the focus of the training session was ‘straightness’ – so this warm up was to help Christie assess how well we had the horse between the leg and the hand. Finn was very good but I STILL need to sit up more…. Why is it that I know what I need to do but just can’t seem to get the message through to my body – I concentrated today on looking up to help this – I did improve so MUST think about this every time I sit on the horse!!
After warming up we started over an upright on an angle – aiming for the centre – this was built gradually into a treble with one stride between each element – with each element offset (photo 1). We were better on the left rein as she is slightly stiffer this way and less likely to go through the shoulder and wriggle about.
We then jumped a very skinny skinny (photo 2) to again check straightness – Finn was superb over this. We then moved on to jumping corners – first single and then as a double on a 5 stride related distance (photo 3) – aiming for a particular point of the poles on each element. The key with corners is to walk the correct line – as straight on to the corner as possible: imagine a line from the point of the corner to the middle of the widest part and try to face up to this whenever possible – there will be times you have to jump at an angle (as in photo 4) but always aim for the straight line if possible.
We then practiced jumping the corner at an angle and on a curving line to a skinny gate (photo 4) – this caused a few problems for a couple of the other people, but Finn did it beautifully at the first time of asking!
The session finished with us jumping an upright then a curving line to the skinny – again no problems for Finn with this. I really felt that she was between the leg and hand by the end of the session – much better than the early jumps over the offset grid. Was pleased with our efforts today and it’s good that I can replicate these exercises at home.
Feeling ready for the (Pre-Novice) Eventers Challenge at Aston-le-Walls tomorrow!