Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jane Hamlin Lesson with Ky

Yeeeeeeeeee this pony is so awesome!!! We had a jump lesson today with Jane Hamlin in my continuing quest to get back some of my lost jumping confidence and start feeling ready to maybe head back out into the eventing world again. I haven't taken a lesson with Jane in a looooong time, but it was great to see her again. She loved Ky (how could she not??) and he was absolutely foot perfect. I finished up my lesson a very happy girl!!

We started out warming up on the flat, and Jane gave me some great advice about getting him more stable in the contact. Namely: give him a contact to be stable in!! I hate the feeling of him bouncing around off the reins, so without thinking about it tend to ride a little longer to try to avoid the situation. Instead, Jane had me ride with a fairly short rein and good heavy feeling in my elbows but quiet hands to try to give him a stable place to go to. It was a similar message to what Kim had told me, but clearly I needed to hear it again!

After that, we started jumping!! Eeeee! We started out nice and easy over a trot in, canter out cross rail to cross rail:

After getting the feel for the line, we started cantering in and Jane made the cross rails a little bigger, then turned the second cross rail into a cross rail oxer:

At first the three strides in the line felt verrry long with Ky's shorter stride, so Jane encouraged me to try to open his stride a little but sitting lightly on his back and giving my hand forward. It worked a charm, and soon Ky was making the distance easily.

(Showing pretty good eq if I do say so myself over one of the warm up oxers!)

After proving our proficiency at the line, we started doing some little courses. I was definitely a little apprehensive to jump fences without any placing rails or set stridings!! But as Jane reminded me, Ky has a lovely natural sense of rhythm that's probably better than my eye will ever be. If I create a good canter, stay out of his way, and guide him to the fence, he'll find a distance he can jump out of. Easier said than done, right? But I was actually pretty proud of myself! Here was our first course:

My definite tendency is to want to micromanage as many elements as possible. Jane, in addition to being an active competitor and eventing trainer, is also an FEI-level dressage judge, so she was definitely able to commiserate with this tendency and agreed that it was probably to my advantage to want to micromanage as an upper level dressage rider... but that in jumping and eventing, I had to let go and let things flow significantly more than I would naturally want to. Whenever I choked up or sat down and drove, Ky jumped badly. Whenever I stayed light and let him flow forward in a steady rhythm, he jumped beautifully. A good reminder!!

We did a second course with a little more technicality:

I redid the angled line a few times, as my initial response was to doubt his honesty, sit down, and drive him to a bad distance. I finally got it one last time where I sat lightly, got to a deeper distance, and instead of crumpling forward with my body or getting aggressive, I just stayed tall with my upper body and strong with my leg and let him jump up to me. And unsurprisingly, it was night and day better!

(Go pony!! Kate, keep that lower leg down!)

I'm feeling so incredibly lucky to have this horse in my life. He's such a gem! I had such a blast and can't wait to continue to learn from him at the Eric Smiley clinic next week... if the hurricane doesn't foil our plans!!


Checkmark115 said...

such an adorable pony!

SprinklerBandit said...

He is too cute!! Good riding, too.

The Fullers said...

What a good pony!! So cute! Send him to me in CA! :)

My Virtual Eventing Coach said...

Great post! Would you be interested in having this featured on the Guest Blogger page on my website?

Katherine Erickson said...

Sure! Though perhaps edited slightly to remove some of the gratuitous exclamation points, haha. What would the process be to do so?

My Virtual Eventing Coach said...

I will just copy and paste it onto the website, and put a link back to yours. And don't worry about being enthusiastic! Readers like that!

My Virtual Eventing Coach said...

I just realized that your first video is maybe not the one you thought it was?

Katherine Erickson said...

Hmm you're right... Bizarre, as the video that is now there was taken after I wrote this post! Thanks for catching that, I am away from my computer at the moment but will re-embed the proper clip when I get home tonight.

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