Thursday, 27 July 2017

XC Schooling. I think I can.

I don't always ride well -- no, seriously it is true! But when I do, it is magic.

Getting more brave every successful lesson.
Following my disappointing moment of fear/abandon ship/xc fail in my last derby, I immediately set to work trying to find a coach that would be taking a group out for xc schooling. Fortunately I found a great coach with a small group of lower level riders to head out with right away.

I love this coach. She is very hands-on experienced with xc, has a great eye for rider and horse and is fair in analysing and verbalising what she sees.

Pre-lesson pow-wow
She had been at all the past derbies and had the opportunity to see us do well, as well as the not so good moments. She noted that Savvy perhaps was struggling more with taking in all of the landscape rather than the jumps and showed me how to ride to the jump in a way that would help her focus on what we were coming up to. I was mistakenly reacting to all of her fussing and looking by getting very busy with my hands and really losing the battle of trying to manage her mach 5 brain. Instead, she advised me to get her at the pace I wanted well ahead of the jump, and then ride her straight and hold her that way with my legs, thinking leg yield rather than correct with my hands and look up and beyond the obstacle. Think straight!!

Black, black, bit of blue and black, hmm. I think we need a colour. Any suggestions?
Funny how riding with a purposeful mindset and not messing with things right before the jump really helped Savvy lock on to the jumps better. We were still having ugly distances, but our line and steadiness was much improved.

We all know I have struggled to ride with commitment at a level that clearly helps my horse know what has to happen. Even when I think I am riding a bit aggressively, I am always surprised to see in video that I still look a bit backed off. This was still the case with video from this schooling day, but I can see some moments of actual riding, so yay for improvement. I am happy to say we had not a single refusal in this lesson - even with two jumps that scared the crap out of me.

First was the raspberry jump we had struggled with at the June derby, and the feeder which we had never actually made it over before -- just one purposeful ride-around and three refusals at that derby.

Raspberry jump: Looks so innocent but has been trouble for Savvy in the past...

We had no trouble at all with the raspberry jump this time, and the feeder was a success on the first try, even though the coach felt Savvy had come to it saying "Yes, got this" while I was riding a bit of a "hell no". Haha! Got to love an honest coach, and yes, she was very right on that one.

Savvy had no trouble with this (although I am still working on my feelings about it).
There were definitely nerves getting in the way at some points, but for the most part I really just had a ton of fun and felt like it was a great experience for Savvy to help her realise the jumps were no big deal.


Savvy was being so game for the whole thing--when pony is good, she is fantastic. And it may have even helped me with the same issue as well, but I still need more good rides like this one to really feel like I can trust Savvy headed at the bigger jumps.  No worries! We've got time.


 
 

13 comments:

  1. I love your determination and perseverance. It's going to pay off (and it already has)

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    1. Thank you. Baby steps, but we are getting somewhere.

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  2. Eeeeeeomg that looks so fun!! Sorry I'm super duper late to the game here - read the post earlier but couldn't watch the video until just now. She looks GREAT! Like she's finally figuring out that there's nothing sinister about those solid jumps and that actually it's pretty darn fun! Yay Savvvy!!!

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    1. It was SO much fun! I really hope I can get out to more practices like this and cement in that relaxed feeling out on the field.

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  3. Way to go! You're making such amazing progress this year, it's really inspiring!

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    1. Aw, thank you! It has been so cool to work with this horse. :)

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  4. Good for you! Focus on recreating that positivity and why/where it came from. Ignore the rest. Celebrate your progress! Love that quote! I have had it on my blog before ;)

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    1. Many more training rides like this is exactly what we need :)

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  5. You guys look so great! That raspberry thing scares the crap outta me, you are a badass!

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    1. Scares me too! Every time I look at it, I just replay how Savvy half jumped it and then dove right and took out the number flag. I need a few more successful jumps over this one in the future before I am done worrying about it, I think :)

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