Geoff Update: Continuing from the lightbulb, SJ and DR

khalswitz

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So, After our lightbulb moment in our lesson two weeks ago, Geoff and I have been on a mission. I've been velcroing my stirrups to my girth, riding with tea towels under my arms, and have started doing a core strength circuits course four times a week to try and strengthen up. Geoff has been feeling fab - more forward, less resistant and generally more powerful, although accuracy in transitions has been ditched for CORRECTNESS a bit in the meantime...

So our first outing post REVELATION regarding my core was SJ. Historically, this is our weak point... Neither of us are very confident, him because he's green, me because he tends to stop pretty dirtily and drop his shoulders when he's feeling a bit unsure.

We nipped along to our RC final winter SJ, and just went into the 60, as we know we can step over everything. He popped round clear, unexpectedly, and although forward I made myself keep my leg on and not over tighten with my hands. He was a star!!

Jump off, however, I suddenly felt a bit pressured. We were in with a chance now. So obviously I rode like a spanner.

Tight hands, no leg, and generally an idiot. First jump was lovely into a super tight jump off turn of 270 degrees which he aced, but the easy lines into the next few fences encouraged him to run on, me to tighten up, and then him to deer leap. We finished with 8 faults, and well out of the league runnings... But I still came out smiling as we had no refusals and better yet no tumbles!!

Again it hit me that my problems noted on the flat are causing me trouble in the SJ - the lack of core strength and tendency to hold him with my wrists and not use enough leg. So at least we have things to work on.

I am however starting to think that maybe SJ really isn't our cup of tea, and whilst he enjoys his jumping, and we can aim to try for a few small events this season, in thinking both of us enjoy our dressage so much that maybe we should concentrate on that and take the pressure off of both of us jumping wise - he may not event like I wanted, but he still might if I stop getting so angsty about it and just chill, and in the meantime he's turning into a lovely dressage pony :)

No photos, but did finally get the video of our last AWFUL round where we deer leaped and refused a LOT, so here are some humourous stills for you to peruse :p

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And some pics of my sis having a jump on him at home and succeeding much better ;)

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Then, last night, almost two weeks of practicing NOT riding like a spanner later, we went and did some dressage. It was an unaffiliated evening compat a new venue, with OUTDOOR tests for the first time, and also our first attempt just doing prelim (no sneaky intros). However the same venue where we have our BD debut in a fortnight so good practice...

He warmed up BRILLIANTLY, really listening, feeling powerful but also soft and controllable. Transitions were sweet, I was really sitting in in the canter, generally lovely.

First test was P4, and it wasn't so hot. I had spanner syndrome again, he was having a look (understandable at new venue/first outdoor) and I reacted my collapsing my core and tightening my hands, and backing off the leg. Of course, this resulted in tension, resistance, falling on the forehand and appalling hollow, late transitions - and even briefly straddling the white boards. Despite feeling pretty bad they marked very generously with 66.6 and fifth place - I was pleased with the score but not so much with the test!!

Second test was P15, a long arena test (which we like), and one we've done not too long ago. WELL. He felt super! He was soft, I put my leg on and kept my wrists soft, and USED MY CORE, and properly rode my transitions :) felt fab. We scored 68.9, a new PB, and WON :) our first win at dressage :)

Comments were the opposite of what they have been - lovely test, lovely movement, mostly engaged and LOVELY transitions, just commented on accuracy. Accuracy was previously spot on whilst everything else a bit meh, so we just need to keep the niceness and get accurate again with it.

So a nice wee prep for our first BD test in a fortnight!! :)

A friend videoed a short piece of the first test, so a few stills - gutted not to see the lovely second test but at least an idea ;)

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So all still improving, and getting excited for the next few weeks - BD debut, riding club camp and team sj all to report back on over the next fortnight. And hopefully more improvement from me to let him perform!!

Tea and biscuits for all :)
 
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TheSylv007

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Fantastic, nice photos. Always good when you see an improvement and there is hope after all! Good luck for your activities over the next few weeks, sounds exciting!
 

khalswitz

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Fantastic, nice photos. Always good when you see an improvement and there is hope after all! Good luck for your activities over the next few weeks, sounds exciting!

Well done :)
All your hard work is obviously paying off.


Thank you :) I'm so chuffed with him :) from last August being a sniff from selling him as I was too scared to get on him, now he's being fab!

Had a cheeky wee SJ lesson today out in the field now it's dried up- he jumped around an 85cm course with fillers, oxers, planks etc and had a gorgeous bascule WHEN I LEFT HIM ALONE and just WAITED with leg on into the hand, without PULLING. So maybe the SJ isn't such a problem after all... I'm starting to think maybe he just doesn't do it for me, and therefore I'm having to up my game a LOT from my old schoolmaster... only taken 16 months to suss out? ;)
 

blood_magik

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Sometimes it takes a while to click with a new(ish) horse.
I've had my big lad nearly two years and we're still not quite there, and yet I've had L for just over a week and it's clicked already.

Realising what we're doing wrong is half the battle. The other half is fixing it. :wink3:
 

spookypony

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Sounds like great strides are being made, and a great score in P15! :) Are you dressaging again this month, do you think?
 

khalswitz

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Sometimes it takes a while to click with a new(ish) horse.
I've had my big lad nearly two years and we're still not quite there, and yet I've had L for just over a week and it's clicked already.

Realising what we're doing wrong is half the battle. The other half is fixing it. :wink3:

Definitely. I think I only really stopped comparing him to my own horse in September time, about a year after my old lad got pts, and 10 months after buying Geoff!! I'm only really getting to anticipate him now, and even then he often proves me wrong...

Haha, look upon it as half way there then!!!

Sounds like great strides are being made, and a great score in P15! :) Are you dressaging again this month, do you think?

We are indeed - the 19th at Tillyoch for our first BD, and trying to work in another unaff before (hopefully) if dates and lifts can be arranged (Tillyoch is easy to hack to, but elsewhere I have to be organised!!).

He's just feeling fab, and making me feel a bit of a spanner, but the gym time and all the exercises seem to be helping, and he just seems to step up every time I sort something out which is lovely. My instructor seems to think he could do Elem, with work (mainly on me, but also at getting him stretchier as he finds the extensions tricky). Very exciting :)
 

Lolo

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He looks so well, and your position looks much more stable in those photos. Half the journey with these horses is in stepping back and making decisions and then kicking back on. I think the idea of really focussing on your stressage sounds so positive, because it'll put really strong foundations in place for your SJ.

Al's decided this year that Reg is going to do 90cm ODEs because stressing themselves out over 1m SJ is counter-productive and neither of them enjoy it. Stepping back and deciding to try something else or step down is so hard and it sounds like it's a positive for you already- hopefully it will be for Reg too :)
 

khalswitz

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He looks so well, and your position looks much more stable in those photos. Half the journey with these horses is in stepping back and making decisions and then kicking back on. I think the idea of really focussing on your stressage sounds so positive, because it'll put really strong foundations in place for your SJ.

Al's decided this year that Reg is going to do 90cm ODEs because stressing themselves out over 1m SJ is counter-productive and neither of them enjoy it. Stepping back and deciding to try something else or step down is so hard and it sounds like it's a positive for you already- hopefully it will be for Reg too :)

Thanks :) I FEEL much more stable too, can't believe I didn't catch onto this sooner ;)

He actually seems to really enjoy his dressage, which I would never have thought, and the more work we do on the canter on the flat, the more of an improvement we should hopefully see in the SJ. I'm not going to worry about it, will keep up with the training at home, particularly on the grass now we've got the jumping field dry to use, but will wait until were much more confident jumping together before going for the SJ again. If we get the chance of a small ODE before the end of the summer than fab, if not we'll get concentrating on the dressage :)

That sounds like a good plan - with his SJ performance from the start of this year Reg'll find that easy!! And it means much less pressure on him and Al in his difficult phase. Clever tactical thinking :p I'm sure it will work wonders. Hopefully a bit of fun SJ at home to build confidence (and work on my position and ability to sit still!!) will keep the jumping fun and encouraging whilst we get the canter really sorted and get him working properly on the flat first, with some fun dressage outings :)
 
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