Ended up riding with Ibby today, the jumps were out and she was about to ride George, she said I should join her!
We warmed up and started jumping over the last fence of a line of 4 bounces – out of a slow trot, we did this a few times in figure of 8 formation and then ‘progressed’ to jumping the same formation out of walk! Ibby said that this really made the horses think about where their feet were and use themselves properly – she did it with William Fox-Pitt. During this exercise it was important to keep Finn calm and relaxed but still active. It was quite difficult, I needed to ensure that I kept my balance perfectly and remained siting up. I could really sense that Finn was thinking and working over her back.
There was a line of three jumps down the centre of the arena: upright (acute cross pole with a heavy pole across the centre; two strides; big spread; one stride; acute cross pole with a heavy pole across the centre – set up to be jumped in either direction). We jumped the upright at an angle in both directions, this is great for me as I need to concentrate o getting a good line and being committed into the fence, Finn is getting much better at this, she was really confused when we started jumping at an angle but she has it nailed now and just accepts what I’m asking.
We then went back to the bounces and rode the line of four, thinking about rhythm, balance. After doing the exercises from walk I could really feel Finn using herself better and thinking about what she was doing.
Next was the spread fence from an angle, off the right rein, I wasn’t quite committed enough on my line and didn’t really have enough power – We therefore had the back rail – I must ensure that I ride to the bottom of the fence in this instance. We did it a couple more times off the right rein and got it spot on. We then came off the left rein – and for some reason I didn’t ride her/had a shocking angle and quite rightly Finn said no thanks! The angle of the left rein was much more acute and I got it wrong again (not committed enough – didn’t trust myself) but Finn tried her best to get me out of trouble…… Ibby said that I should trust her more because she’s so honest and genuine that if I make a mistake Finn just jumps higher!!!! The next time we got it spot on, and did it once more to ensure it wasn’t a fluke! A good lesson in really looking at my fence and getting the line right – Ibby’s advice was to keep riding her to the bottom of the fence, she said that she could see me get 4 strides out and stop riding……
The treble was next: two strides to one stride heading toward the mirrors. Again I didn’t have quite enough power off the turn and had to kick and flap a bit to get the distances – we did it but it wasn’t the prettiest. We did it a couple more times, it makes such a difference when I’m riding positively. I was happy to leave it there and did my lap of honour around the arena…….
Ibby wanted me to do the double of skinnies (the blue barrels laid on their sides) we approached out of a slow trot on a longish rein and cleared both with no issues. Next off the right rein with the first barrel still on its side and the second stood on its end, Finn was very straight and careful, lastly we jumped both barrels on their ends of the left rein – again Finn was very straight and honest. We finished tired but very happy – I love my pony!!
I think it would be really useful to have these sessions recorded so that I can really see how I ride, I think that this will help me improve no end – will see if I can sweet talk Chris next time.