Warm up, as usual, was to think about rhythm, suppleness and submission. Canter felt really good today – very light, with Finn using her back end. We used some ground poles during the warm up to help me to focus on the rhythm, riding 5 strides in a 2 point seat and 5 strides in a full seat – ensuring that the rhythm, balance, speed and quality of the canter all remained good.
Patrik set up the grid starting with a ground pole and a cavaletti – down the centre line so we could ride it from both left and right reins. The turn top of the school was quite tight as it was against the rodeo fencing, Patrik had placed turning cones at the top – making an accurate turn very important as the first fence was only 3 strides after the turn.
The grid built from the ground pole and cavaletti on to a bounce to an upright then one stride to another upright then two strides to another upright – which turned into quite a big wide spread.
Patrik was encouraging me to ride Finn slower, but of course with energy, as this makes it a more gymnastic exercise for her. I was doing too much again, especially in the two strides between the last upright and the oxer – “this is supposed to gymnastic for horse – not so much for rider!” I found it quite hard not to ride the two strides positively, as the distance was quite long which made me want to work for it.
I was also riding with too much contact, which Patrik said was perfect for the show jumping course (parcour), but he wanted a much softer contact for the grid work to make Finn find her own balance and work it out for herself.
The children’s summer camp were doing some activities just outside the indoor school and just as I landed after the oxer, they started clapping and screaming, which are Finn spook: she stopped dead and then spooked to the right (I was going left – and continued to do so…….) meaning we parted company! Got back on and jumped the grid from both directions again. Patrik said it was good competition practice to cope with all sorts of distractions having the children outside – which I suppose it is!! Made me sit up after finishing the grid though – so a good lesson in not getting complacent after a I think I’ve finished the course too.