I found Ransom standing at the walk through gate, looking at his halter. "Hey Mom! I heard the word Jump this morning before you left. Let's go!"
Set up two cross rails. I was one ground pole short of being able to go either way without having a ground pole switched. Jen arrived to us in the arena on free lunge warmup. Ransom was forward, but not being goofy. A very good thing.
We warmed up walk, trot, and then concentrated a bit on my canter. I wasn't real sure why, but last Sunday canter-english on Romeo, I kept tossing my stirrups. It wasn't even in the transitions, but a bit after, they were swinging wild, despite my best efforts. Even keeping heels down, they were flapping free of my feets. So, in the canter, Jen started watching while I was telling her, "there they go." Hip Hip Hooray to her tuned-in eyes - she found it. And, actually, it's quite funny.
It's not me leaning forward
It's not my legs swinging wildly
It's the stupid knee rolls. Or in this case, the lack thereof.
I'm so used to canter in my dressage seat, and without realizing it, I've gotten into the habit of supporting myself on the knee rolls in the dressage saddle. As a result, the hunt saddle doesn't have those knee rolls, and I'm "reaching for what ain't there."
When she pointed it out, and I started focusing on nothing but heels, I found my new balance point. Homework there - Focus on canter heels down. Hours of canter will be needed to find my balance point in the hunt seat, concentrating on heels and seat, and spot-check that my legs aren't lifting looking for the knee support.
With the flat work accomplished (& better understood), I pointed Ransom at the first crossrail, heading left, trot to, canter from. Whee!! He's great! Jen once again caught us in bad rein releases. I'm tentatively holding on to Ransom's face a bit too long before the fence. I'm waiting too long before lifting to two-point, and staying too upright in two-point. Wow, a grocery list of things to work on, eh? It's good - He's enjoying the heck out of the fences.
So the jumping goes like so...
Crossrail left side, heading left, about centered with dressage-X
Canter away, and remain in canter a bit
Ease to trot, trot a circle
Point at crossrail right side, heading left, still centered at X
We worked a handful of fences this way, changed direction. I asked Jen, "Hey, you think we's ready to go the other way? Wanna switch that ground pole?"
She said, "I've got a better idea. Now you won't need to switch the ground pole at all." She took one cross rail out, set it on the ground, and lifted the other cross rail to the rail holder. Wait a minute?! That's not what I meant... That's ... A ...
Vertical! Crap! I've measured that before! That's a bit over 21" vertical rail! Crap-o-la!
I avoided it for a few trips heading right, then finally realized there was no getting out of it. Ransom is Steady-Eddy, and has been careful over every jump I've pointed him at, so, here goes nothing.
Trot Two-point, Glance at it, and stare at the trees
Heels down! Look UP!
Pause, tuck, JUMP! Airborne, Landing, canter BIG! Ease to trot, circle... Look at the cross rail, lather, rinse, repeat
We repeated the cross rail (which is now lifted to 2nd hold on the rail holder) and the vertical some more before calling it a day. Very much fun, with a lot to focus on - mostly for me, and not sweet Ransom.
Homework on the lesson
- Flat work canter without losing stirrups
- Crossrails, with trot to, canter from. Bring back down to a trot before the jumps.
- Get more comfortable with the vertical rail