Yay for jumping lessons!
I got back from being out of town for work training Friday evening and immediately had a lesson on Saturday morning. I’m really glad I insisted on it being earlier. If I wasn’t tired from driving for 7 or so hours on Friday, I would have wanted it to start at 8. It was hot already when I got out there. I started sweating even before I got on Scarlet.
I kept my stirrups long for the warm up. The warmup wasn’t as good as I normally do since I was trying to talk to Trainer J at the same time as warming up. Since it was the first lesson, she doesn’t know much about me or Scarlet. So I was answering a bunch of questions and riding at the same time. I’m not in good enough shape to do that. I was heaving for breath when we stopped talking. lol.
Scarlet definitely wasn’t as in front of my leg as I wanted but he was bending and stretching quite nicely so it wasn’t a total bust of a warm up.
Trainer J set up a small cross rail to see how we do while I shortened my stirrups. We hopped over it at a trot. Scarlet barely gave it any respect. So she raised it and added a bounce ground line for us. And then had to raise it again to actually get him to use himself and jump rather than just flounce over it.
We did the bounce at a trot and canter (obviously adjusted the striding when we started cantering). Trainer J wanted us to work on Scarlet keeping his neck low and rocking back onto his butt to jump over. Getting his neck low is okay when just doing flat work but he immediately reverts to saddlebred neck when a jump is put in front of him. He gets excited and tries to rush. I was riding on a really loose rein as I didn’t want to have our first jumping lesson have me banging against his mouth. So I wasn’t doing much more than steering. I’ll have to work on that now that I know what we can do and what we need to practice on.
We finished up on a two pole lead up to the crossrail at the canter. Trainer J set it up and it ended up being a little long for Scarlet. We cantered in and he made the striding but it was a bit rushed when he realized that he needed to stretch to make it happen. She adjusted it to be a bit smaller and we went through with a fairly slow canter and he jumped it quite nicely.
My homework is to get him to go over trot poles and low crossrails without popping his head up and practice my two point. The last one is more me assigning myself that rather than Trainer J saying I needed to do it. I know I need to. I have no muscles for the two point anymore.
Thinking about the insistence to have his head low… I’m conflicted. On one hand, Scarlet immediately throws his head straight up when faced with jumps. I know that allows him to hollow his back rather than use it. However, I don’t like how low she wanted us to get before going over. The speed of the trot and canter she wanted also bothered me. I didn’t feel like it was a very free moving and forward speed. Scarlet isn’t strong enough to do a collected canter or even a slower canter still using his back. So I didn’t feel like I actually had the correct use of his back and hind at that speed.
I’m still going to do another lesson, but I’m not 100% on board with how she would like us to get over the jumps. I will definitely be working on getting him to stop hollowing over the jumps but I don’t think I’m going to get it by insisting he bring his head down. We will have to see what exercises work best for Scarlet in order to get the correct form that we need.