Monday, August 10, 2009

Magic trainer dust

I should have posted this last night, but I got home pretty late and was too tired. Besides, today I had more video fun with iMovie, so you get to enjoy a movie with transitions and everything!

I had a FABULOUS jumping lesson with Paige over at Coraggio Hunter/Jumpers. I swear, she had magic trainer dust or something. Although you can tell from the video that we're still getting some big spots, I felt like we were really much more together than ever before and that I rode him better to the fences. Big progress.

The first thing I really took away from the lesson are that I have got to WAIT for Saga to get to the fence. Galloping the last two stride will not help (funny how it always seemed to work that way with Cash!) Saga has a big rhythmic stride, and he can get me to the fence if I just wait for it to come to me. Easier said than done, because my instinct is to say GO!!!, but I will learn.

The other huge, huge thing that I took away is that I need to get my leg more forward over fences. I've always had a problem with it slipping back, and Paige had me bring it forward almost to the point where I felt chair-seated. But once I was in two-point, I felt like it didn't move much at all. And watching the video slow-motion, there were only a few fences where it really budged. So: must keep leg more forward. How often do you hear that?

Other things of note: I kept overshooting the turn coming around to the green plank fence (you can see it in the video). I think part of it is that he tends to fall out on his left shoulder despite the best efforts of my outside leg and rein, and part of it is that while I look at the fence from quite early in the game, I then look away, and then I lose my line. It's not like I'm going to run into anything in the arena, so I need to look at my fences early and keep looking at them. I did that on one of the left-hand turns (not on the video) and it was really nice.

I asked Paige about my position - I feel that my lower back is really arched over fences. She said that, coming from the H/J world, she thinks it's fine but she can see where it would be tiring on a 5 minute XC course. So I'll need to find a happy balance, but I think that will come when I'm doing more jumping.

Also regarding position - I watched some of the videos in super slow-motion, and I can see that I'm sometimes jumping ahead (usually when we take a big spot) and I'm somewhere up on his neck, and also that I pop up too fast on the landing side. There are a couple of fences where my butt hits the saddle and his hind legs are barely over the pole. I need to talk to Paige about this, but I think I need to focus on staying further bent at the hip for the entire landing stride rather than just until the front feet hit the ground. If I don't, we're going to pull rails like nobody's business.

Oh, and yes, my Reactor Panel dressage saddle is quite comfy for jumping, thank you very much!

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