Sunday, November 4, 2012

Stepping it Up

First off, indoor eventing + canadian show jumping championships = awesome, but a bit of a late night.  Anywho, I regretted not taking my camera but really enjoyed watching the show.

Back on topic.  I had a double lesson weekend, with a dressage lesson on Friday night followed by a jumping lesson Sat am.  Both lessons were fabulous, but two lessons plus ballet class has left me incredibly sore!  My coach had mentioned to me that she was going to bump up the difficulty of our flat and jumping work, and this weekend Cadence and I experienced that in spades!
In our dressage lesson, we introduced Cadence to shoulder-in.  She was brilliant, and picked up on it extremely quickly.  We then did some leg-yielding in and out on a circle in the canter, which has improved tremendously since last time we tried that.  However, the muscle-cramp enducing part of the lesson was actually probably one of the simplest parts.... I was asked to collect Cadence's canter through the short end and let her return to a working canter on the long walls.  She'd collect fine, but once she learned  that long wall = being let out, she was dreadfully difficult to hold onto.  After the new material, she was understandably a bit wound up.  So while she listened really well through most of it, she'd just kind of check out as I desperately tried to keep her in a sane-looking, relatively straight, mostly balanced canter down the long wall.  Oh mare.  We ended after a few decent ones, and called it a day.  She was sweatier than I've ever seen her... looks like I may have to actually clip her this winter.
Saturday's lesson was another fun one.  We started off jumping a one stride to a bending two.  Cadence was a super star, so my coach pulled out a barrel, laid it on its side, and 'officially' introduced Cadence to skinnies.  Cadence has jumped 2 skinnies before, both of them in the first HT she completed.   I've never seen a skinny in competition since, and you don't really seem many of them up until Training level.  However, in our little wee tiny Pre-Entry event, we saw one in stadium, and one out XC.  She jumped both like a superstar, in spite of never having seen one before.  But I digress.  So we headed to the blue barrel (complete with guide rails on either side) and Cadence gave me a 'umm... are you sure you want me to do this?' kind of a feel.  Not afraid, but confused.  So I squeezed her, she popped in a canter stride, and voila- it was done.  She went on to jump it beautifully several more times before we moved on.  Up next: an introduction to corners.  The corner was even smoother than the skinny. We trotted in, she calmly hopped over, landed, and got pissed when I asked her to slow down.  So in short, a typical Cadence jump.  We then cantered in, and while she took it a bit big, it was nothing compared to what she would have done a few months ago.  Her confidence is really through the roof right now; its a lovely feeling.  After great success with the skinny and corner, it was time to get down to some real work!  I've created a dreadful diagram below in an attempt to minimize any long- winded explanations.
We started off heading to 1 on the right lead, swapping leads over 1, and heading to 2.  Then we added on 3 to the end.  Next, we did 2 to 1 off the right lead, before finishing with 3 to 1 to 2 off the left lead.  The first time we did 1 to 2, I completely missed 2, because I couldn't get her back in time.  The same thing happened the first time I did 3 to 1.  Its hard to get an idea of just how close the jumps are to each other, and just how tight the turns are from the diagram.  Even jumping 1 by itself on a circle would have been a bit of a challenge.  The jumps themselves weren't huge or anything.  The verticles were probably 2'6, and the corner was 2'3, but the point of the exercise isn't the height, its about the technicality of the questions being asked.  Overall, the lesson was a great learning experience for both Cadence and myself, and I can't wait to see how far she comes over the winter.  It feels like we're really getting into the good stuff now.  We're officially out of baby green-bean land and are moving on to the real work!  Or at least that's what it feels like to me :)

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