I find the longer I leave it between jumping sessions, the more nervous I get and the more I overthink things. As I have missed a showjumping outing the last few weeks, I booked a course hire at Boswell Equestrian and arranged for Jade to give us a lesson over the course. I also took the opportunity to try out a friend’s Freejumps – full review on these to follow once I’ve tried them a few more times!
In the warm up I focused on using some of the exercises from my last lesson with Sandra, particularly raising the inside hand to keep him round, and not nagging with my leg so much. We kept him focused by doing lots of circles, figure eights, changes of rein, and moving up and back within and between paces. I also popped him down over a series of canter poles, practicing my changes each way – I really need to work on my positioning to the right as I just can’t seem to get the change from left to right as I collapse through my right hip – aargh! Jade told me to work at home over poles and try to remain central rather than twisting my body – the most I should be doing now is putting my ‘new outside leg’ (right leg) back as I go over the final pole, any more than this and I risk collapsing. I did this a few more times and managed to get it in the end, but it’s a work in progress!
I warmed up over the fences, putting a few together at a time, finally piecing together the whole course of 13 fences. Something that was really apparent was Paddy’s enthusiasm for jumping, however he was ‘poking’ his nose coming into the fence and coming above the bridle, and this was making him quite flat coming into the fence. Jade noted that I need to keep him round over his back and to keep him in my hand between the fences, as otherwise I lose the power from behind and he goes onto his forehand. This means he either comes in too flat or too deep to the fences and we lose the jump. As you can see from the video below these fences (about 90cm) are nothing to him, but we need to get the accuracy right at this level or we won’t be able to move up!
The video below shows the full course (under floodlight so quality isn’t amazing!) and you can hear Jade’s instruction as I go around. There are some wobbly bits, particularly where I lose the momentum coming off a corner into the double, but there are some pretty good jumps in there, especially over fence 6 on the diagonal!
My homework is now to:
- Poles, poles and more poles – I need to work on a) getting my changes (staying central not tipping!), and b) being able to see a stride and adjust Paddy for that spot
- Focus on keeping Paddy light in my hand and round between the fences/poles
- Keeping my elbows soft at all times
This weekend we’re going to do something different, and I’m going to hopefully take Paddy for a ‘play’ at a local XC schooling venue. Report to follow!