Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, September 29, 2007 09:57 PM
Today was a jumping day. Jumping gives me an opportunity to see my horse from a different perspective. I make my stirrups
shorter from the start. I ride with the very light seat. I think my horse appreciate such variety especially after a difficult
work in collected paces the day before.
I warm up him for the jumping: lots of changes of direction, lengthening and shortening his stride, first in the trot then in canter.
I start jumping exercises with the trot approach first and then canter. Being a dressage rider I find it easy to control his paces,
tempo and the length of his stride. If he gets excited I stop jumping and work on speed control and obedience. I do not have
enough experience to really feel the distance and my jumping position probably needs some work. However, I feel secure
and balanced during jumps and to help with the distance I set up grids and placing poles.
A lot of interesting observations can be made during such training session that can help enormously in the dressage work.
For example, it is very hard for him to maintain clean right lead during right turn after the jump. He loses his balance and changes
behind. I think it is another side of his weakness that makes my work on the flying changes from left to right so hard. Before flying
changes happen I need to strengthen him on the right lead. Another thing, he gets excited and starts to pull. Even though, I know
better not to pull back that is my first subconscious reaction. I need to think of pushing my hands forward and slow down him
with my body instead of hanging on the reins. It takes more time but after a few repetitions brings much better results and much calmer
horse. It is very hard to avoid quick fixes. Every ride is an opportunity to have a conversation with him
and to explain him things, not to order him around and expect him alway perform exactly as I imagine.
I found today that cantering in the very light seat is a good way to work his back. I kept him stretching to the bit with the neck rather
low and round and lengthened and shortened his stride without touching his neck. I used my thighs and body, I kept an eye
on balance, tempo and rhythm. Everything had to stay the same and only length of the stride changed. Even flat, with the
tendency for the four-beat canter that my horse felt so much better during this work.