Chris came to help me with the jumps today – I had planned to do the ‘Andrew Nicholson’ 4 uprights on a circle exercise, first time jumping on the new surface. However, Ibby had just finished giving a lesson and I asked her if she’d help me…. So Chris went to the pub instead!
I worked in and Finn felt very keen, it’s been a little while since we have done any jumping. The plan for the lesson today was DISCIPLINE – rhythm, balance, respect for the aids.
Jumps were set out in the school as follows:
- an upright at the A end on the centre line – across the width of the school,
- a line of 4 bounces at B,
- a spread across the school on the centre line at the C end with a water tray underneath, and
- a 4 stride related distance of skinnies on the E side
We started with the upright riding it on a 20m circle, but Finn was getting longer and faster, so Ibby had us riding across the school, squaring off the turn and stopping before the fence on the short side. This was quite challenging, and I did have to use the fences a stopper the first few times….. The ménage fence came up quickly so I had to react as soon as Finn had landed to ensure I had any chance of stopping (also, I had put her in the team up rather than her jumping bit, so it was especially tricky).
This was a really good exercise for me to ensure I didn’t stay in the forward position, using my core more effectively – rather than collapsing and taking 4 strides to regain my position. We went back to the exercise on the circle and I was able to ride it in a much better rhythm and balance.
The bounces were next – using the same principles: riding the line, stopping at the ménage fence, but this time turning around and jumping the line from the other direction. To start with Finn got faster through the line of bounces, making it difficult get her legs out of the way in time for the next jump and harder to pull up at the end of the school; Ibby told me to keep my heels deeper and not to fold i.e. sit almost upright over the bounces. I was then able to use my body to to brake a bit better.
We moved onto the 4 stride double of skinny fences, again Finn rushed the 4 stride distance flattening. Ibby wanted me to jump the first element and pull Finn up before the second!! This was super hard to do – Ibby stood in front of the second element, which helped my focus no end!! By the time we’d done this a couple of times I was able to fit 5 strides into the 4 stride distance, at the same time keeping Finn thinking forwards rather than backwards. Result!
Then onto the spread. By now my position was much better and more balanced, thus helping Finn to stay in a better balance and rhythm herself. Although we didn’t pull her up at the ménage fence, I felt that I would have been able to. She felt great. Finally we put a course together using all the jumps at least once. I felt really together, the rhythm was consistent and Finn still felt keen to jump, but without the rushing and flattening. Awesome! Will definitely book Ibby again……