Thursday, January 26, 2017

Finally a lesson

On Saturday we finally had our lesson.  I was really torn on whether to have a dressage or a jump lesson, we haven't done any real jumping since fall and we have been working hard towards dressage.  But MC was suggesting taking a jump lesson over a dressage lesson, oy oy oy.  In the end, I put my jump saddle on and asked for a 50/50 lesson.  Some flat work and then some jumping.

We warmed up while the previous lesson finished up.  Mia was very heavy and fast through the warmup so I dropped my stirrups and did our handy dandy haunches exercise to really get her butt moving.  And it worked so well, Mia stopped resisting my hand after the third haunches in/out transition and stopped running and started working.  Every time I picked up my stirrups, Mia wouldn't respond as well so I figured I would just ride sans stirrups.  I mean, didn't start January with Saddless January for no reason!

Stirrupless dressage lesson in a jump saddle? Sure!
The clinician came over and we chatted.  I told her she was sick and had practically 2 months off, we weren't at full fitness but are working hard and currently focusing on laterals to get her to bend and to work on straightness.  That we hadn't been jumping at all and I would like to focus on flatwork and jump after that so she could evaluate my position and saddle and what not.  She was game to that plan so off we went.

Little bit o half pass
She immediately said Mia needs to go in a lower frame, she needs to stretch down into the bridle more as she is bracing against me.  Yep, I would agree with that. We did a lot of shoulder in and confirmed that while Mia's right is weaker than her left, a leg yield to the left is harder because she isn't stretching left shoulder as easily.  We focused most of the ride on laterals and the clinician said she could see that we have worked on this.  Win!  She said Mia went right to work and while some of it was hard, she accepted it when I asked.  She then asked if I was okay cantering without stirrups.  Uh....yeah!  I am an eventer.  I am supposed to be the crazy person (no comments confirming this!), of course I can canter without stirrups.  So we did.  A lot.  We found Mia's weak spot is true straight while cantering, so we have some homework.  The clinician said Mia has been doing laterals like a trooper but when we tried straight, Mia went "ARGH!  HARD MOM!!" Haha!  Trying to keep her balanced in her right lead canter while going truly straight, vs haunches slightly in, is almost impossible right now so more strength and more practice.

Of course we can canter in a lesson w/o stirrups
After the "straight" exercise we went over a couple of jumps.  I kept messing up the distance (go figure) BUT Mia was waiting when I asked instead of chipping or taking off long.  Guys, she was actually waiting LIKE I ASKED.  This is huge!  Celebration time!!  My mare is starting to ask my opinion with jumping!!  It may not be a big thing for a lot of people, but it is huge for us.  When I got her to the right distance, Mia was awesome and the clinician said she jumps beautifully.  Almost hunter like, so that was cool.  She said my position looks good and my saddle looks fantastic for me.  It fits me well, seems to hold me well in position over the fence and my angles work very well in it.  So yay!
Dat tail though....
The bad is that we fell apart when trying to simply canter on a circle, going over a little cross rail.  Mia is having trouble keeping her canter after the fence.  She wants to GO and not stay in her collected canter.  When we made it easier, she wouldn't just trot the crossrail and wanted to launch over it and canter after.  Yes, clinician, I know it is probably a weak spot.  We haven't been jumping to practice!
So comfy, this saddle
So my homework is really developing straightness in Mia.  I need to ride with my hands lower, even lower, no, lower some more.  I went from the crotch hands to now apparently way too high.  I didn't think so, but the lesson pics look good so apparently I was keeping them too high.  I need to work on Mia's canter over a pole and then apparently.crossrail to force her to keep her balance over them, this will make stadium much easier and hopefully XC as well.  Homework is now set, let's see what I can get accomplished!

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome lesson - seems like you really covered everything!! I love it when the clinician can tell what we've been working on and be able to add exercises or directions to keep the work progressing. Also love all the pictures, Mia is so cute :)