Coaching Camp and Exams. Part III
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Thursday, August 7, 2008 09:06 AM
Thursday was riding day for me. I had a jumping lesson with Trish Mrakawa in the morning and I have worked B2 in the afternoon.
Trish has a wonderful technical knowledge and experience in jumping. Her approach is serious and very solid. She puts a lot of emphasis on correct riding between fences. All that made her lesson extremely interesting and valuable for me. We did gymnastics to start with and then rode a course similar to Friday's jumping test. Trish told us that after gymnastics line we must decide either to halt or continue and canter the corner and short side. Horses that rushed through gymnastics were usually halted, others could continue and even encouraged to canter forward. The point was to have control but not to teach your horse he may stop after every line. I had to remind Kopper to go forward before, during and after gymnastics. Later we did a line of two jumps with related distance. You could ride it as 6 normal strides, 5 lengthened strides or 7 short strides. Kopper wanted 7 short ones, I managed to get 6 normal. The biggest issue for me was to look where I go next. I would fix my eyes on the second jump and than would not look further beyond it. Another issue of mine is wait for the jump to come to me and not try "jumping" ahead of the horse. All these mistakes are very typical of someone with not enough jumping practice :) Trish told me to keep Kopper's natural balance and just ride him forward and he will do his job. That advice really paid off on Friday.
Many other candidates did rider levels riding tests after lunch. Because I already had mine done in November I wanted to ride B2 but his saddle was in use so I did my coach level 1 written test instead. I tried to find a quiet place but that was impossible. Kids were everywhere. They were doing rider level written tests and discussing it with each other :) My test was easier than I thought and I finished it pretty quickly. There was 14 questions on the subjects of teaching, feeding, training, soundness issues, first aid treatment.
I wanted to work B2 by myself to prepare for my flat test. The place I could work was the galloping grass ring. All other rings were busy. I forgot to put a fly spray on him and during warm up walk he bucked couple times being bitten by a horse fly. I have decided not to walk for long :) B2 was very inattentive at the beginning, yelling to other horses, looking around, etc. It took me a while to settle him down into work. After that he was wonderful. I decided not to ride the whole test but practice pieces of it that needed most work. So we did lots of transitions - trot-walk-trot, canter-trot-canter, figures eight, lengthenings, chewing reins out of the hand on a circle. He was hard to put together. He would go behind the bit or above it. I decided for my test tomorrow I rather keep him slightly behind the bit and not press too much with forward issue. I wanted him to be with me and not take over. I quit when transitions started to flow and became sharper, when he started to anticipate them and responded to the leg quite decently. I felt that I did enough preparation for Friday's test, I felt that I'm ready. I enjoyed working B2 enormously. I have realized that I love dressage for that quiet "conversation" and connection that develops during such work. After my ride I felt like I know him better, like we got acquainted with each other.
Happy riding...
 
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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