Friday, December 23, 2016

Increasing Expectations

My trainer and I often talk about how I sometimes still ride Cupid like a green horse, since it doesn't seem like that long ago that he was a three year old only trained for racing.  Sometimes I don't even realize what he is capable of now!  Plus to be honest, a lot of it (like turning with my inside rein or using a leading rein) is just bad habits.  But it seems like Cupid is starting to expect more from me!  We have been working on getting him to jump from the base of a jump (by using ground poles in front of the jump, as well as me sitting in the saddle to the base), and I've also been working hard on improving my position (not collapsing on his neck or jumping ahead), as well as supporting him with my leg coming to a jump.  So when I messed up the approach coming to an oxer with the barrels underneath, he was not very happy with me!  He landed and started tossing his head and getting quick.  I almost thought he was going to buck for a second!  But I sat up and he came to a stop.  My trainer told me I totally just let me reins go slack and collapsed on his neck, and that confused Cupid since it's not what we've been doing. 

I was a little nervous after that, so we went back to the cross rail that was our warm up fence.  We trotted it a few times, then cantered it a few times.  My trainer told me to lean back, repeating it several times as I approached the jump.  Even though it felt like I was leaning way back, I think I was actually just in the correct spot.  I felt very balanced, and could actually let Cupid lift me out of the saddle as he jumped. 

Then we went back and did the entire course we had been working on, which was the cross rail and six strides down to a vertical, then go around the end of the arena and jump the brush box on the diagonal, then go around the opposite end in a figure  down the other diagonal to the barrel oxer.  We did the course twice through, and it felt really good!  Cupid is very responsive, he just needs me to ride correctly! 

Earlier in the lesson we did some canter work, and tried to see if I could get him to do a flying lead change.  We did not get it.  My trainer may ride him and work with him on it, I think he will figure it out pretty quick with someone more experienced guiding him. 

After a nice dry period the paddocks have almost gotten dry, but it is raining again today. :/ 
In his cozy fleece blanket, enjoying his grain
Feeding him apples is a messy experience!

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