Friday, February 19, 2010

Kiki Jumps!

I'm so in love with this horse =)

Yesterday, Kiki and I had our first real jump lesson in California with Bec Braitling. Bec has ridden her once over fences and I've done some little cavaletti and things on my own, but this was definitely our first concentrated effort together. She was great! We did just one exercise, a single trot fence, with placing rails on take off and landing, performed on a figure of eight. Simple as it sounds, this exercise definitely revealed Kiki's greenness right away! She was all over the place, legs a-scatter trying to get between those pesky rails and the fence. Bec really pushed me to let her figure it out herself, which meant sitting chilly and being prepared to slip the reins - not the most comfortable feeling in the world on a horse who you pretty much know is going to almost eat it every time!

What a difference, though, by the end of the lesson - Kiki was still making mistakes but many fewer of them, and she was really getting the hang of the soft, relaxed trot right down to the base that Bec taught me how to ask for at the beginning of the lesson (instead of taking a big circle to get it back, it would only take a few strides). She was cool, calm, and collected from start to finish, and actually relaxed more and more as the lesson went on: something I really wasn't expecting given some of the reports I had received from Jane when she handed over the reins to me in January.

It's such a fun challenge to work with her because I have to be much, much more aware of my body through the entire phase of the fence than I do with a more trained horse. Kiki is so sensitive that even a small change with my body makes a big difference to her; several times in the lesson I went to pinch with my knee when she went "all over the shop" (as Bec put it) and, as a result, I definitely almost ended up on the floor at least once! When I focused on reacting to her greenbean antics by staying strong in my lower leg and open in my knee, it was remarkable how much more securely we both got to the other side.

Bec was very complimentary how much Kiki has changed since the last time she saw her. We both agree that she's got a loooong way to go, but that she's a pretty good soul and seems to be taking the changes in stride. Good girl, Kiki!!

(Kiki back in Vermont - the cutest!)

1 comment:

Suzie said...

Aww, the baby is growing up. I'm bummed I missed that but I'm glad that all is going so well for you and her! It makes me all the more antsy to start Yves. Only two more years to go...

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