Thursday, 16 March 2017

Grids - How I Hate Thee, Let Me Count the Ways...

After last Friday's jump night success, coach and I were excited to get right into jumping work this lesson with a grid.

Knowing Savvy is a sucked back kind of pony and momentum being kind of your friend in a grid, I knew it might pose a challenge for us. Never the less, I dove in and we were basically getting through a cross rail, one stride to a pole, two strides to a vertical. It never felt forward, or straight, or 'pretty' by any means, but I was trying hard and felt like Savvy just needed to get the hang of it all.

At the same time, we were also trying to see if we could make canter more of a thing that happened as it mostly was not happening. Coach asked for some canter circles before we went back to grid work and Savvy decided her answer to my request would be a lightening fast ninja kick. She has done this manoeuvre before on a much smaller scale. This time it unseated me and I thought I was going to get more acquainted with the ground.

No photographic evidence - but many of these manoeuvres later, I am ready for a beer.
Coach was great at helping me to keep breathing, keep riding and just keep asking for forward -- any kind of forward. Every single time I asked her for the canter I would get a ninja kick and after a bit I actually started to figure out how to not get unseated by them and keep riding forward. After getting the canter both directions we went back to the grid.

Unfortunately I guess my courage was all used up because I just could not give Savvy the support she needed once the middle pole became a jump as well and we just could not get through it. Ugh.

At that point coach lowered the middle cross rail as low as it could go and I pulled myself together and got through it. After about five attempts, it felt good enough to quit there. Good news for me because I pulled a muscle in my hip from Savvy's fancy moves trying to canter and it was really starting to hurt by this point.

Is it just me or are grids really hard? Is this what everyone in jump lessons is doing? (Am I just particularly horrible at this?/What is wrong with me?/Maybe I should stick to dressage.)

8 comments:

  1. um. yea wow i really really REALLY relate to this post. grids are really hard. but so valuable. charlie's first few times through a 2-stride are actually well-documented, but you'd never notice bc he... just trots through. his first time through a one-stride there's no video but... ehhh he never really quiiiiite got it. the landing cantering thing started off reeeeally touch and go. free jumping him actually helped a lot in that regard, and it was only in one of our recent jump lessons (the rainy stormy one), a full three months into purposeful jump lessons with a trainer who LOVES grids, that he FINALLY got it.

    so.... long, someone self-oriented story later and i'm just here to say - it ISN'T you. and it IS hard haha. Savvy's gotta figure out her footwork and sounds like she's testing boundaries while she's at it (incidentally, much like my recent media-less lesson with charlie!). keep at it, tho!! she looked so great through that last video, i'm sure she'll figure it out quickly!

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    1. I kind of want to dig right back in and help Savvy figure it out, but I also kind of never want to see another grid again! Haha. It is helpful to hear its not just my own ineptness though. I'm sure Savvy and I will figure it out eventually!

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  2. The thing about grids is once the horse figures out he/she needs to go through basically on their own and figure it out, then grids become the best training tool. Improving your canter for non-jumping work will help a lot as well. Hang in there. Once Savvy figures out forward is the only option and gets more confident with single jumps things will improve rapidly.

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    1. I really hope so. As of now, Savvy and I were both pretty unnerved by it. I am crossing my fingers that it goes better next week!

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  3. As the not so brave adult owner of another ninja kicking backward thinking pony...grids can be very difficult! As the others mentioned, it does get better with repetition. Honestly, they are actually fairly simple to ride once you get your horse truly straight and forward "taking you" through- for me the challenge is less about my actual riding through the grid and much more about pony training and insisting she holds up her end of the deal :)

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    1. Haha, I am looking forward to the day Savvy 'takes me through' the grid! :) Ugh, ponies are just their own special kind of awesome.

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