Yesterday we headed back to Trainer B’s for another lesson, this time in the form of a pro tune-up. Those rides are so helpful, and he hasn’t been on P since January, so a bit overdue. He’s really excellent at explaining what he’s doing, what to look for, and what the feeling should be. And that translates to better instruction when I’m the one in the saddle, since by now he’s quite familiar with P’s way of going and little quirks.
I’m more of a visual learner, so the other thing his rides do for me is give me undeniable proof that P does best with a forward thinking, confident rider. Obviously Trainer B has a lot more experience and skill than I do, but seeing that pushes me to try to emulate that as best as I can. I used to have a tendency to back off P when he would melt down or throw a fit, thinking maybe I was pushing him to something he couldn’t do. Well…obviously he can handle more, as you’ll see below.
Finally media! Not only did I remember my helmet cam, but I even remembered to charge it on the drive to Trainer B’s. Winning.
First, Trainer B pointed him at a barrel we jumped 2 weeks ago…
Now P is stubborn. But Trainer B is even more so.
I mean…did P think he was really going to win?
And again…Slightly dramatic much?
Then it was on. That was the only jump he refused, as well as the smallest and least scary, because #PilgrimLogic.
Then we got to talking about the half halt. P’s go-to canter is flat and on the forehand, with little hind end engagement. Trainer B played around with a strong halt halt, then “sling-shotting” him forward. At the very end of the session, I got on to feel it also. More on that later.
Then to prove his point, he demonstrated it to the rainbow. You can see him come around the turn in P’s normal canter, then really sit up and hold until P’s hip angle changes, then he drives him forward to the jump.So yeah. Effective. Two thumbs enthusiastically up.
Then to the shamrock jump P wasn’t so much a fan of last week.
And back around to retest the barrel.
Back to the shamrock oxer.
And then to the gate. With this particular jump, there’s always about a 65% chance he’ll jump it.
Then to this gigantor thing that I didn’t think Trainer B was going to point him at.
Then the opposite way to the shamrock oxer. This jump P did NOT take perfectly, instead drifting to the right side (sound familiar?) directly before the jump and then wanting to go to the right on landing. And then threw a mini fit when Trainer B attempted to straighten him out. He noted that P moves easily to the right off of the leg, but not so easily to the left. So something to work on.
Then, again to my surprise, the yellow. P hates the (sun? egg yolk?) cut out, but he went!
And back to the red/yellow.
Then….the liverpool. P has jumped the small water tray a bunch of times, but the liverpool jump is a brand new jump with wavy rails and a much bigger water tray filled with water. I might’ve held my breath.
Yeah…and that wasn’t even a fluke.
The he strung the gate with the red and yellow going the other way.
And then the flamingo jump (the one that we conquered last week, you’re welcome, Trainer B) to the purple oxer, 5 strides to the yellow. You can see P wavering about the yellow jump and switching leads a few times, probably trying to figure out a way to stop, but a quick tap from B and he’s up and over.
Then around to the 5 stride again to smooth it out.
And for good measure, the liverpool the opposite way.
Pretty much all the fences were set to Training+, which I’m pretty sure is Trainer B making up for not riding in LRK3D this year, but we were both super happy with how the whole ride went (minus the warmup barrel…oh, P). After P caught his breath, I hopped on, put him into a forward, flat canter, then practiced the half halt with Trainer B a few times. We were able to get in in 7-8 strides, and so our homework the next week (after Kentucky, of course!) is to work on it every day. Be happy with getting the response in 7-8 strides in one session, and try for one less number each or every other session.
The other thing he did differently was not wear spurs, but carry a crop. He used McClain Ward as an example- you can’t hold your leg on as much while wearing spurs, which made sense. I’ve always worn them after I went without them for a lesson with Trainer J and she told me it was better to have them and not need them, than to not have them and need them (he was being super lazy that day). But that may be something to play around with at home as well.
Well, I’m off to Kentucky in a few hours- if anyone else is going to be there and wants to say hi, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give ya my number!
Sharing these again to close, because look at how grown up P looks!