I had such a great lesson last night and experienced a whole new feeling of riding towards and after a jump. It was one of those after lesson feelings of "YES!!" I can do this people!
First of all, I have to say this fab lesson was on the heels of a not so stellar ride last week where I jumped Miss Tea the first time since her back problems started. She was wonderful and didn't show me any signs of refusal or discomfort, nada. But me...I was so afraid on that first approach that I pulled her from canter to a trot and was actively looking for escape routes! My poor girl jumped it anyways, all on her own with no backup from her terrified rider. All jumps thereafter were me holding her too hard and coach telling me to RELEASE.
So, approaching this lesson, I was determined to redeem myself and do right by my horse. I did a full hang-on-to-mane release three strides before jump and worked very hard at picking up contact softly not before at least three strides out. All I can say is WOW!!!! Giving my girl her head and letting her think her way towards and over the jump was terrifying (I like to micromanage like no other) but so freeing at the same time.
I am so proud of my mare.
Cheers to everyone out there trying to be a better rider for their horse. The road training yourself and your horse may be long, but what a beautiful ride!