Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jumping Course!

 I had another great lesson Friday, riding with Anica for part of it again. First, though, I warmed Chester up in the arena and trotted around the dressage part. I worked on lengthening and shortening his trot(not really extending like in dressage test, just making his gait a bit bigger or smaller) as I rode across diagonals and around the arena. I also did some trot leg yields in both directions. I got Chester to leg yield, though I need to slow him down a bit so he goes a bit more sideways. Other than that, it was successful and not just a diagonal.

 Next, I started a serpentine, heading right on the outside circles and left in the middle part. When I reach the P-V(or S-R on the way back) I asked for the canter transitions. My transitions are getting a lot better and more immediate, which is good. I rode several serpentines, then headed across the diagonal of the arena to change directions, making a serpentine the other way. I did the same thing, this time cantering the right for the middle part. Since I would be jumping later that lesson, Meghan had me hold my two-point for the canter part and for several trot steps. I'm getting better at holding my two-point trotting, though it took a little bit to find my balance in the canter until I put my hands more forward as I remembered from a previous lesson. Now that I've done a lot of cantering throughout my lessons, I am much more comfortable at that gait.

 Once I had done some canter work, I began the Training Level Test that I am working on, test 1. The upward and downward transitions were better than last time, which is good, but I need to work on relaxing a bit more and not rushing through the test. As Meghan said, my test time at a show is my time in the arena, so I can take my time. For the second half of the test, after going across the diagonal from F to H at the walk, I focused on taking my time, not cutting corners, and making the 20 m circles the correct size. This part went better. I  also found that I'm better at controlling Chester's fast canter tempo.

Chester decides the jump is too small and steps over it.

 After I finished my test, Anica came in on Roxy and we began practicing a small jump course consisting of four jumps. We started out with just ground poles, though. The course went like this: go over one jump, then another several strides away, turn left after the second and looping back, in between the first two jumps, over another one placed near the rail, and final over the last one around the corner. It probably sounds complicated so I'll share a diagram.
Here's how the course looked like. Note: Image not subject to scale; it's just a picture to give you an idea how it looked.

 I rode through it several times at the trot without any jumps in it. After both Anica and I had gone through it several times, Meghan began adding one jump at a time until there were four jumps, two cross rails and a small vertical that was a foot and a half to two feet(all the jumps were about that range; I'm just estimating.
More like jumping! This looks like the slightly bigger one.
 I kept Chester at a good tempo as I rode through the course. It's fun doing an course of jumps. As I rode I learn to focus on safely and efficiently maneuvering the course and lining Chester up for the jumps. For example, I needed to take one turn wide to line Chester up for one cross rail, so when I started doing that he was able to jump more easily and get better aligned for the last cross rail. The last cross rail was a bit bigger than the others, so he needed to to get to it straight. Jumping it was fun!


After going through the course quite a few times, I started cooling Chester out. He had been bumping several of the jumps with his hind end, which we suspect is because he is sore from all the times he has been out this week. He was even more sore Saturday, but he should be okay after a day off.

 The lesson was really fun. It's great that I can progress at this rate, which is partly because I get to ride with a more experienced rider, watch her, and do the same thing. Meghan plans something that's sufficiently challenging for both of us. I'll be riding with others more often this fall because all the girls come out for a weekly group lesson during school time. While taking private lessons is great, riding in groups is fun as well since you can learn from what others do. It's not going to be a very huge group either so I can still get personal instruction as I ride. I'm looking forward to these lessons!


  1. Sounds like you are learning quite a bit :)

  2. sounds like a really good lesson that you handled very well! looking forward to reading more of your progress.


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