I decided that I needed more help with the show jumping, prior to the Jump Training Final at Moreton Morrell, so I booked a jumping lesson with Nigel Taylor. Ibby came with Ed and had a lesson with Ann at the same time.
We started by working with Canter poles on a curve – this will help to establish a better rhythm and is something I should do more of. We then moved onto canter poles with a cross pole – again, thinking about keeping a strong rhythm throughout.
We then did bounce fences – they were smallish and built up to 4 in a row – again focusing on the rhythm.
I must ensure that I ride straight to the fence and straight away from the fence, we did a fair bit of jumping out of trot. Nigel says that this is a good exercise and will help Finn to be more athletic. When cantering to the fence, i must keep her poll higher and ride the canter more forward “let the canter come more”. I also need to keep my reins shorter.
Nigel encouraged me to think about letting the fences come to me – rather than pushing Finn towards them and landing unbalanced – this only results in getting more and more unbalanced as the round goes on.
If she gets strong then use small ‘come here’ and release on the rein – don’t get into a fight!
Nigel thought that Finn was light on her feet for a big horse – this really made me happy as Andrew Bennie had said that she sounded rather heavy at the JT Qualifier 1st round at Rodbaston. She was thundering around a bit after hunting- but it looks like all that counter canter is helping!!
Nigel suggested we did some XC fences – the new XC schoolong area is right next to the SJ ring, so we headed across. Again, he got me thinking about balance, rhythm and having a good strong canter. We tackled the water, with a couple of logs before and after. We also did the skinny fences, steps and good sized corner. We finished off stringing a number of fences together and Nigel commented that I need to be more forward between the fences and ride with a light seat.
We jumped some pre-novice fences in the XC and finished off with some more show jumping, just to get Finn’s (and my) mind back on the job in hand for next weekend. She jumped beautifully – rhythmical, balanced – I felt I actually could wait for the jumps to come to me….. felt awesome!
Nigel thought that Finn was a good jumper – he liked her (and he would have said if he didn’t). He thought she was well balanced in the show jumping and more than capable of taking the corners in counter-canter if necessary. She did a lovely change in canter going away from the wall – Nigel commented she is not stupid – if I look where I’m going and stay balanced then she will change – would have got me good marks in the jumping equitation next week…..
Learnt a lot today – will be putting it into practice straight away!