Boing! Boing! Boing!

June 4, 2009 at 9:54 am Leave a comment

Trying to find a saddle that works well for K may be a losing endeavor, unless I want to spend more money than I have.  In any case, it appears mine, funny marks and all, may be the best I can do, so I’ll experiment with different pads and see how that works. 

Last night we went for a mosey with Allie and the amazing Phinny, and Klondike was sort of feeling his oats the whole way.  He’s a great trail horse, but he was feeling a little bouncy, and was not so into the walking.  If we wanted to trot, he wanted to bounce up and down at the canter.  We had one moment that I would actually classify as “bad” (as always, with the disclaimer that his “bad” is seriously laughable).  So when we got back to the farm, we put him to work a little bit. 

Allie lowered some jumps in the back ring and we did some work over them.  First working on trotting everything in very controlled and straight fashion, and landing in a light and organized manner so we could stop on the other side (before the end of the ring? really? hee!).  Then we worked on a little exercise where we jumped some narrow flower boxes (about 2′?) with no standards, so it requires you to be pretty straight and controlled.

When we moved on to cantering things and putting pieces of a course together, he was fabulous, except that he has a tendency to get sort of squirrely sideways on the approach to the fence, particularly when coming off a left hand turn.  This is HUGELY related to me and some crookedness issues I have, but on other horses doesn’t seem to be a massive problem (though Stephen could show it up, actually, now that I think about it).  In order to combat this I had to really concentrate on weighting my left stirrup, using my right leg, and almost thinking about counterbending a little bit.  Actually, sometimes I have to do the opposite too, as to which way I’m weighting my hips, but mostly it was more to the left.    When I get it right, he stays much straighter and we have a better jumping experience.

It sounds like a lot to think about, but I’m starting (just starting, after twenty something years of being on horses), to get more of a feel.  It’s a slight difference, but just feeling what to do, instead of having to run through a mental checklist, is a pretty big deal.  I don’t always get it right and it definitely helps to have eyes on the ground, but I’ll take the baby steps.

After jumping everything and working on those things for a while, Allie put a few of the jumps up to a respectable height (I have no idea about actual height, my perception is very much off) and we practiced first trotting a bigger jump and waiting all the way to the base, then a little bending line in four strides (eek! that comes up fast!)

We had to really work on that bending line.  It’s hard for me to stay organized and typically on landing I’m sort of in a heap, and it takes 2-3 strides to get myself in order again.  But when you only have four strides to work with and the second jump is larger than a crossrail, you sort of need to land in organized fashion from the first one with no downtime.  Once I figured that out a little bit, we had a few genuinely good passes through it.

The cool thing with Klon is that I always feel confident that he’ll go- he may be sideways, he may get a weird spot, but I always feel safe and like it’s not going to be a big deal.  As a consequence, jumps and obstacles have begun looking smaller to me than they used to 🙂

As an aside, I do think I need to shorten my stirrups another hole for jumping, I could feel myself getting ahead of the motion and losing my lower leg a few times (er, every time… ha!)

Hopefully video/pictures soon 🙂

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