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Lisa's Blog post # 57
June 15th will forever be recorded as a
milestone in my personal history as a re-rider – after 22 months we
finally did it! The creeks did rise – we were rained out for 2 days!
But in the end the good Lord was willing! Yay!
I had known from the beginning that canter transitions would deliver
the fatal blow to Cotton’s uncontrollability would we have reached our
goal long before now? No… I have had to undergo a complete
transformation in my riding. Each little tweak along the way has been a
necessary contribution to this moment. The hundreds of seemingly
insignificant successes are what, together, made this small success
possible. Canter transitions alone are worthless unless they are
accompanied by correctly doing everything else. I had to learn
“everything else” first!
read an article awhile ago that said if we can improve just 1% on
something when we ride we should call it a successful day. But 1% is
practically invisible to the naked eye! 1% is right next to 0%, which is
nowhere near 100%! 1% is so unremarkable you don’t even mention it during dinner when your husband asks, “So, how was your day, dear?”
that comment was like a pebble in my pocket! At the beginning, each
positive step in the right direction fooled me into thinking we had
arrived. It took a lot of dashed hopes to finally see those tiny
successes for what they were – 1% drops in a bucket, not the golden
ticket to our first event. It takes a lot of drops to fill up a
bucket. When I got discouraged I would reach into my pocket to feel the
smooth stone and be reminded that we really were getting somewhere –
even if we weren’t! I began a “1% log”. After each ride I jotted down
what tiny little thing we had done right that day. All of those 1% improvements finally added up!! Canter transitions were the final few drops we needed.
historical moment was very unremarkable. After a brief warm-up I
decided on a course and we did it. The jumps were low cross rails with
ground poles. We were able to get a bouncy canter to the right, which I
used to have to fight him for. Now I just have to think it and there
it is! When his feet got all tangled up going to the left we just
trotted for a few steps and kept going. He used to dart off in the
direction of his own choosing when this happened, taking us completely
off course, but now that he’s carrying himself better that didn’t happen
I raised the jumps to about 2’3” and took away our “training wheels”.
We only did a few jumps. One of my faults has been to lean forward
those last couple of strides as we near the fence – I think I get
fixated on the top rail! When I do that, Cotton takes off early and
launches over the jump. Ground poles mask the effects of this no-no
because Cotton can’t take off further away with a pole in his way. My
1% today was being able to stay back with my upper body until Cotton
left the ground. I could tell when I did it right by the quality of his
jump. That, combined with a stable core, seems to be the key to
preventing him from rushing the fences – at least these small ones!
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