Thursday 30 June 2016

Look, No Hands.

As recent posts would indicate, I've been all over the place motivation wise. Last night was our scheduled jumping lesson and I was in a decidedly less enthusiastic mood than Monday's high.

Challenge feels too high, competency rather low. Not pictured: High temperatures also creating a downward trend, motivation wise. Pic via Google images/

We started off with EC being inspired by something she saw at the Karen O'Connor clinic and looping our reins so we essentially could not use them for balance, ever :)
Dramatic reinactment ;) Essentially, just unbuckle your reins, and let them fall over the neck, then rebuckle on the underside of the neck where the ends meet. End result - some rein available in an emergency, and they stay put and out of your way better than knotting them.
 We did about 11 million years a few laps of the arena in galloping position, followed by some more in two point, then some more in a half seat, W/T/C,  excellent for me as I'm not sure I've ever had a formal "this is where your body should be for jumping/xc" type session. My legs were unhappy after the 15 min or so that took, obviously something I need to work on. In related news, without seat or hand, Midge was not steering as well as she should off my leg. She knows better, but apparently I back it up with rein aids she was progressively getting worse about falling in/out in the turns. Eventually, my stick had to make a friendly reminder to her about staying honest. Next up, we moved onto a grid...

Progression of exercise like so.
We started off with 6 poles spaced at 9' intervals, much shorter than Midge's natural stride. The challenge, obviously to keep a suitable and consistent canter through the line. Also, please stay straight, and with varying instructions of two point, standing in stirrups, hands pushing into neck, arms out to side, etc. This was ok from a rider put your body here standpoint, not so easy from a keep the pony in a shorter canter with minimal seat/rein standpoint.

Next, the grid was changed to two small x's with a pole in the middle, creating a short three stride line. Repeat above. Midge got 2 large strides the first time, then tried jumping in big and wobbling and quitting. Awkward, but confidence boosting in a way as even without reins she was dead honest about getting just wasn't pretty. Also I can ride some really awkward stuff with no hands, so that's good.

Next the second fence was changed into a biggish oxer. This is when I finally got it together and got her forward enough to make it happen and feel good.

I won't lie, I was a little frustrated and was wishing for a horse like my lesson mate's  that would just honestly pick up a nice steady canter and take me through the grid with minimal rider input so I could work more on my position...but obviously that's the exact wrong approach. I appreciate the smart, thinking pony I have and don't want a robot lesson pony. We'll both be better for keeping on the way we're going. I am better to be happy we jumped through some grids and rode for an entire lesson with no reins and it actually wasn't super difficult. For the stage we're at it's probably nitpicky of me to be focusing on the fact she wasn't as straight as I'm used to :)



  1. I think heat is a demotivator for a lot of us! Also you are getting to work on you even when she always cooperate. Tact and timing! At least that is always what I tell myself when my horse is being a bit of a twit.

  2. Lesson horses are great for confidence but I agree with you that learning together definitely has its advantages. It's more fun too! This sounds like a great exercise and I agree, the heat doesn't help.

  3. I can't even imagine how terrifying that rein configuration would be on Katai haha. Yeah, the heat sucks all of the motivation out of my pony

  4. lol @ dramatic re-enactment.

  5. Love the dramatic re-enactment hahahah!! I'm not very motivated in the heat, so I get it!

  6. Oooh I like that exercise progression!! And also that rein trick