Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Not Called 'Gym-nice-tics'

Any Stick It! fans here? No? One of my good friends in college loved both Stick It! and Bring it On, meaning that I got to watch both films a lotttt over the past few years. I wouldn't call them my favorite movies, but the title of this post has to be one of my favorite quotes.

I digress.

(Ky looking even littler than usual with me up on the mounting block, sassing with Robin, per usual)

Today, Robin (Kiki's lessor) and I decided to do some 'gym-nice-tics' outside while we can still enjoy some decent weather and sunshine before being driven into the indoor for the next five months. I love gymnastics; they are a pretty crucial step in building my confidence, as I like being able to jump a little bigger in a controlled gymnastic environment before I have to go out and do it in a course. When I was getting ready to move up to Intermediate (many years ago, now!), I did gymnastics religiously every single week to try to push my eye up to the next level, and I'm absolutely certain that I wouldn't have had the guts to make the move if it hadn't been for all those trips through the grids.

Now that I'm getting back into jumping, I'm feeling the importance of gymnastics all over again. Whereas before I was jumping 4'3" to try to make 3'9" look smaller, now I'm jumping 3' to to 3'3" to try to make... anything seem smaller! haha.

We set up a pretty simple gymnastic today to get us into the groove of what will hopefully be a regular tradition over the winter. Today it was a trot in bounce, one stride to a vertical, one stride to an oxer. It was interesting to do the exercise with Kiki and Ky, who could not be more different in terms of jumping style.

(Good boy!! Ky doesn't care about grids)

Kiki has gotten wayyyy better at gymnastics over the years (and Robin has improved her miles beyond what I could ever do), but is still prone to getting EXTREMELY ENTHUSIASTIC on the way in, which mostly manifested itself in attempting to canter/leap the trot poles. Robin did a good job settling her, though, and she largely jumped very well.

(Kiki being very clever)

Ky, on the other hand, suffered from a very different problem. In the past few weeks I feel like his flatwork has improved in leaps and bounds in terms of a solid connection to the bridle and strength in his canter. The downside of this, however, has been that being connected in his body has required a lot more strength in the trot than just bouncing around did, meaning that now he feels a lot more conservative and sort of leaden in his trot. I am quite certain that this will get better as he gains strength, but he's in an awkward saddle point in his flatwork progress right now.

(But as you can see, he jumped out like a champ)

This weakness came strongly into play in the trot in bounce, as I felt like I had very little pushing power in the trot coming into the grid. The result was that the first two fences almost always felt like an 'oooph' level of effort. Once he got his momentum, however, he could cruise out of the line easily. I'm pretty sure the gymnastics were a great exercise for him to keep strengthening his hind end... but it didn't always feel pretty today!

(I like this pony. Just a little bit ;D)

Position-wise, I felt pretty good, though I feel I could still be deeper in my heel and flatter in my back. My release felt good, though, and I thought I did a good job staying in the middle of him. Baby steps.

Hopefully we will get a chance to ride with Kim this coming Tuesday. For one reason or another I haven't had a lesson with her at all in 3 weeks, and she hasn't seen Ky in a month, so I'm excited to show her the progress we've made!

(Wylie was a good ring crew. Thanks, Ma, for the awesome photos!)


Alana said...

Ky is such a cutie! I didn't even recognize Kiki until you said it was her, it was nice hearing a bit of an update on her!

BeBe said...

Ky looks identical to one of the horses I worked with in!

So adorable...

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