Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Hands?

Today we had another mini jumping lesson. I was a part of my cousin's lesson; I got to go through the line several more times and Val and I have really got that particular exercise down!

We did them a bit bigger today; when we finished, two were verticals and the cross rails were bigger than yesterday. Probably close to but not quite at the height we've jumped in the past. I'd guess they were 2'9", but I'm rotten with guessing height! Anyhow, the size is mostly unimportant. The good thing is that my hands were doing the right thing for once!

When I first started riding, my release was really not so good. I had the tendency to not release very much, which was pretty quickly replaced with the tendency to throw my hands to my horse's ears; as my trainer calls it, "punching my horse in the eye". That has been slowly replaced with a good crest release. Today, I finally had something good going on with my hands. I did not accidentally grab Val in the mouth once; I did not punch him in the eye.

It was funny, it didn't take a huge amount of effort, it was more like allowing my hands to do what they wanted to all along. When we were going over the ground poles without jumps, I was just squeezing really lightly in rhythm with him; I just started doing that without really thinking about it. When I said this to my trainer, she said that that was what she'd been trying to accomplish! When we started actually jumping, she said my hands were as good as they've ever been. Instead of concentrating on them, I just followed Val's motion; my release wasn't over-dramatic, just enough to give him his head. Now if only I can keep doing it this way!

I think my leg was bit better than yesterday too, although when I finally have free time to ride outside of a lesson, I want to work on a lot of two point and posting without stirrups. That's always so much fun!

Near the end of lesson, my cousin and I switched horses. She got to have fun with the trained horse that actually did walk-to-canters, and I got to play around with Stewie, a fairly green, beautiful appendix buckskin. I've got to say, I like Val better! I have seen Stewie ridden a lot by one of my trainer's really good students, and she can make him look like a jumper and get him around a whole course. I discovered that this was not as easy at it looked. Stewie turns like an absolute tank! I didn't get the chance to jump him but I did get to take him through the ground poles, and that went fairly well. He just feels so different from Val. I want to ride him more in the future; I'm really getting too accustomed to Val. Stewie felt down-right uncomfortable after riding my horse.

One particularly interesting part of that ride was when I asked him, twice, for a canter and he ignored me. I reached back with my crop and gave him a fairly moderate slap, and he blasted forward like a bullet! Laughing, my trainer informed me that he took the whip very seriously. However, he readily cantered the next time I asked! Silly horses.A picture taken on Thursday at the AECs while we were having a dressage lesson. A friend took this picture and I absolutely love it! Val looks so intense. Plus she did some cool editing.


  1. I don't know much about releases, but I do know it's pretty crucial to the jump. Don't you just love eureka moments?

    Love the amazing picture too. And the properly fitted flash noseband! I love seeing horses with blue eyes when you're looking at their eyes from directly ahead and the sun hits them and they sparkle and they look so blue! Just gorgeous!

  2. Very crucial! It determines how much control you'll have on the other side of the jump, and if you constantly catch your horse in the mouth, they'll start jumping defensively without using their necks properly... or just buck you off.

    Ha ha, thanks! I totally agree with you about flash-nose bands. When used properly, they're good, but too many people make them too tight.