Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Gymnastics, Round 9: Special Lesson Edition!

Today Robin and I recovered from the blizzard sufficiently to hack over to the indoor for our weekly jumping session, but this time with a twist: we had a semi-private lesson with Molly Kinney, a grand prix show jumper who comes to the indoor weekly to give lessons.

I know Molly pretty well but had actually never ridden with her before, so I was a little nervous! But it was good to practice riding when I was a little more on edge, since I'll probably be a little nervous at our first shows of the season as well.

Molly had us warm up through a little gymnastic and a single vertical off a long approach. Sometimes, it went smoothly... And, sometimes, less so:

After a couple times of getting awkwardly long distances, I realized what was happening: I was trying to be relaxed, 'shut my eye off,' and just let Ky do his thing... but what I was interpreting as not picking a distance was actually picking a gappy distance. D'oh! Molly picked up on this right away and reiterated to me to just focus on the quality of canter, and not the take off. This was was helpful advice, and for the most part I did better for the remainder of the lesson.

After warming up, we moved on to a little bending line exercise of three fences that could be jumped in 4 or 5 strides. My first trip through was a little ragged in the sense that I was just sort of kicking through and praying. Ky jumped well, but I didn't have a massive amount of control over what striding we were getting between the fences:

Molly stressed to me to be relaxed, get a good canter, jump the jump, and then 'do my homework' right away to get set up for the next jump so that I could relax again and let it flow by the time I actually got to the next vertical. In other words, if I wanted to do it in 5, I had to jump the jump, SIT UP AND WOAH, then ride relaxed and forward to the next fence. If I wanted to do it in 4, I had to jump the jump, leg him forward a little bit, then ride relaxed and forward to the next fence. And it really worked! Here was our tour to the right:

And to the left:

I think that level of decisiveness has been what's been missing from my riding. Before my lesson with Jane, I was getting good but slightly too dependent on the super quiet distance (eventually to our detriment). Coming into this lesson with Molly, I'd really been focusing on being freer to the point where I was getting good but slightly too dependent on the going distance (eventually to our detriment).  By the end of the lesson today, I felt like I had good control over both ways of going, with the key that no matter what, I was getting to the base of the fence in a relaxed and forward way with a giving hand.

I was so pleased with Ky, who was totally foot perfect. Man, what a special little dude he is.


STB Eventer said...

You guys looks super!! I love how encouraging Molly is and how she said something about riding the rhythm not the distance. Great advice.

T Myers said...

Sounds like a great lesson! She seems very good!

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