Monday, May 23, 2011

A Subtle Change of Plans

Unfortunately, the cross country course we were supposed to ride today is still under water, despite the nice taste of sun we got yesterday evening!  I think it's fair to say I'm a little dissapointed, but (always look on the bright side) a family friend who also rides for my coach offered to let Cadence and I come school at her place!  Even better, they said they'd come and pick her up.  Unlike us, they have a full course of jumps, so Cadence and I cam practice with more than just 3 jumps :P  Riding full courses is now the next step in Cadence's jumping career. 
Speaking of jumping, Cadence and I had two fantastic lessons on Friday and Saturday.  Friday we worked on the two w/t dressage tests we're doing for next weekend's show, and focused a little on canter-trot transitions.  We've mastered the upwards, so it's time to prefect coming back down. I'm actually pretty pleased, because it means that her quality of canter has (at long last) really improved!  There really shouldn't be an 'at long last' there.  Cadence is coming along faster than any of us could have hoped.  None the less, I digress.  I believe I was attempting to speak of jumping? 
So on Saturday, when there was still a slight chance we were going to be able to go XC, we focused on building cadence's confidence, and (as always) keeping 'em nice and slow.  Well, we started off strong.  Good warm up, good through the first exercise (tight 1stride with a pole in te center.  The first jumps 2'3-2'6, the second maybe 3'3).  The goal was to get her to jump up, and keep her cool.  She figured that one out, so we added a 3rd 30+ feet away.  It went jump, stride, jump, striiiiiide, jump!  Flawlessly done, but doing a 30ft one stride?  Not what we were looking for!  My coach's instructions were to leave her alone, and let her figure out where her feet go.  Well, she did figure it out, but not in the way we were expecting.  Silly mare.  We went through it a couple more times, with me half-halting after the second jump.  Much better!  Then, we tried something new.  Turning while jumping!  Imagine that.  We kept the original one stride, but moved the 3rd jump to create a bending line, 3 strides away.  Apparently, my coach and I have different ideas of what 'easy' is, because what she considered to be a 'nice easy one' involved a low X set a comfortable 3 strides away, but you better be turning in the air, or there's no hope in hell you're going to make it over. 
 (a little rough.. it probably didn't look like that, just my own best guess)
At one point in time, this wouldn't have been a big deal, BUT...
1)Cadence hasn't done this before.   She likes to run after jumps.  If she runs, we aren't making it over.
2)I haven't jumped a course... in like a year.  Bailey and I worked on flatwork for months on end.  When we started jumping again, it was the middle of winter, and we were in the indoor.  This meant gymnastics, and lots of position and quality of canter work.  Not course work.
3)This is Cadence's weak side. The side she likes to fall out, the side she likes to drift out, the shoulder she likes to lose.  You get the idea.
We did the one stride, and turned HARD.  We made it over, and my coach moved it so the line was a little easier, but still required a bit of a sharp turn.  Cadence handeled it like a pro.  She was totally asking why we hadn't done this before :)  We finished off by cantering an oxer a few times either direction.

Sorry for the long posts, I'll try to keep 'em shorter from here on in.

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