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Lisa's Blog post # 8
Jumping 101. Cotton loves this class! The prerequisite was dressage 101 – which I have passed with .… a solid B maybe? Cotton was hoping his flatwork was finished for the day when he saw that we were lined up for the first approach but, as the Rolex announcer said during stadium last year, it’s just dressage with jumps in the way!
Before we started jumping Lesley had me do some spiraling in at the trot and canter. I learned a lot about the downward transition! I have been asking for trot from the canter and just sitting there waiting for him to do it. Wrong! I learned today to keep my aids on for the canter lead in the final steps of canter as we are doing the downward transition so he stays forward to the bit and round, and doesn't swap leads as he is inclined to do. The difference was amazing.
Cotton is an athletic, talented jumper who just needs to work on some bad habits - rushing the fences, cantering away on his forehand and leaning in around the corners. That’s what we covered in our lesson today. For our first class, we did the baby crossrail to start, then the 2’6” jump that was right next to it, then a 2’ thing, all at the trot. We will be at this stage until further notice..…
My job, in his transformation from backyard hobby-horse to competitive athlete, is to not let him take a fence unless he is calm and listening to me – circling in front of the jump until he is round and responsive. Immediately after the jump I am to put my leg on him so he gets his hind end underneath him and learns to carry himself instead of leaning on my hands. As we head for the turn, I am to keep him straight and not let him cut the corner. In order to pull this off I need to really focus on sitting up straight instead of slumping. Lesley tried to make me feel better by saying that it’s a thing all tall riders struggle with – but not William Fox-Pitt!! William is much taller than I am and he looks very normal on his horses. I, on the other hand, sometimes look like an Amazon on Cotton! Posture does matter - you were right, Mom!
Patience is a virtue and pride comes before a fall! Even though I’d like to be out there competing this season - in the worst way - I’m trusting that exercising patience and humility by getting these foundational issues out of the way at my advanced years of riding will reap huge rewards in the future!
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