XC Lesson at Keysoe Yesterday :)

tonitot

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Yesterday I took Ethel for a group XC lesson at Keysoe with Ros Blackmore, it was the first time XC for both of us so I was a little worried as to how it might go! I needed have worried though, as she was a star :) Unfortunately, for some reason, Keysoe didn't put out their schooling jumps meaning we were limited to what we could jump as we were only doing the tiddly jumps. Ros did a great job with what was available and both Ethel and I had an enjoyable introduction to XC :)

We started with the warm up, we were meant to be doing lots of transitions, working on straightness, steering, brakes etc. but lots of transitions wind Ethel up so we just did some long trots and canters. Canter was a bit hairy, when I stood up and allowed her to stride on a bit she was very reluctant to come back to me and I realised I had my stirrups far too long! After a fairly long and slightly out of control canter I managed to get her back to trot and Ros asked me about my stirrups and then laughed when I said I hadn't been able to stop! Here are some pics, all taken by a friend, Montyforever/TwyfordTangle as she's known on here :)













My naughty habit of sticking my feet forward when cantering (I think I do it to try and help me to hold her?!) is obviously still around ...



.. if anyone has any idea how to stop this then I'd be grateful!

Some of us standing around listening to Ros ..









Onto the jumping, we started with a tiny one. Our first go didn't go so well! We approached it in trot and Ethel was a bit strong, locked onto it and had her head up trying to just zoom over it, then gawped at it and kind of skipped over it :rolleyes3: I got left behind and this is the result ...



Sorry Smef!! We went again and this time I let her fall into to canter and she jumped it lovely :)



We then did the same jump but a bit bigger and then moved onto a set of rails which Ethel didn't even look at, she just flew them :)



Then we jumped the first jump, the rails and another jump that we hadn't already been over all together, Ethel had to check there weren't monsters hiding in the grass on the landing side of the third jump ...



Then we moved off to go and practise a step. Started off with a little grass bank, we all followed one after the other and although Ethel wasn't too keen to go down it at first she did eventually get there. I had visions of her leaping off it and dropping me on my head but she literally just stepped down :) Then we went back up and I felt like I was going to end up sat on her bum!





We then went off the proper step, just in walk, and Ethel did it so well :) She just popped down it after the horse in front and jogged off at the bottom looking all proud of herself! This is my favourite picture of the lot :)



Coming back up wasn't so stylish! She walked towards the step, following the other horse who went straight up, then decided she didn't want to go up t and would just go up the little grass bank again instead. Turned her back towards the step and she said, "Oh okay then!" and by this point was so close to the step that she picked up one foot, put it on the step, scraped the other foot up the step and onto it and then bounced off both back feet up onto the step. Again, I felt like I was going to end up on her bum!



TBC...
 

tonitot

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Continued ..


We then went off in search for something else to jump, walked down a bank whilst Ros told us how we would ride it. Got to the end and Ros decided there wasn't anything there that she wanted us to jump so we were to canter back the way we came, up the bank we had walked down, off the step, turn around and go back up it and then onto the first 3 jumps we did. This was brilliant :) Ethel set off on a mission, flew up the bank, popped nicely off the step and jumped brilliantly back up it ( this time I went up with her so no feeling like I was going to be on her bum!) but she kept chipping in extra strides at the 3 jumps. I saw a stride and went for it, then she'd chip a tiny one in and flop over them. She got growled at and a little smack after the second one to try and get her on the ball but she did it again at the third so I took her back round to it again and got a nice jump over it, so lots of pats after that :)
After this we went down to the water, I was worried about this as I tried to get Ethel into a lake last year and I ended up stood in the lake with her up on the bank when she then leapt off it, straight down onto my foot and then ploughed into me, knocking me over backwards and climbing all over my legs. It wasn't her fault really, I should have stayed on her or given up and gone home! But hey ho, this time I wasn't going to get off and we had other far more experienced horses and riders and Ros to help us :) She was a bit hesitant about going in but followed the horse in front after some encouragement, we then walked in on a our own and then trotted in :) She actually started to enjoy herself the third time and had her happy face on :)







We had to end it there as there wasn't really anything else for us to jump, which worked out well for me as Ethel was very hot and tired. I'm really happy with our first XC experience, the only thing we didn't do that I wanted to do were ditches but we will go again and hopefully do them next time :) Will go maybe once or twice more before we do a little unaffiliated one day event, it's quite exciting as I was given her 4 years ago and have always said I want to do eventing with her and now we seem to be getting there :biggrin3: I'm not sure how well we will do as our dressage is something to be desired but she's brilliant show jumping and I think she'll be cracking XC as she loves to go fast and jump (although we will be taking it steady first time out!)

Any CC is very welcome :)
 

JFTDWS

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I love the water pics :) Some lovely cantery cantery ones too. Looks good fun :D
 

tonitot

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I love the water pics :) Some lovely cantery cantery ones too. Looks good fun :D

It was great fun :) Very proud of the pony and she thoroughly enjoyed herself :) I do wish they'd put the schooling fences out so that we had more to jump but still, it was a nice little introduction for us and we will going again asap!
 

RachelFerd

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Your feet issue in canter probably has a few causes..

Primarily I would say the canter looks unbalanced, which is not going to make it easy to sit up and around her - that just boils down to doing more work in the school getting her working over her back properly in the canter and teaching her to use herself correctly. Lots of transitions, lots of adjustments forwards and back within the pace so she learns to keep connected.

This in turn will help with part 2 of her getting strong - she is probably getting strong partly due to being unbalanced (this is the problem with half of the horses you see tanking off up warren hill on the heath every morning ;) ) when she understands the contact through the reins to the bit is not something to fight and lean on then you will probably find you have more control. If she is evading opening mouth or resisting the contact badly you may want to rethink noseband/bitting. Current bit appears to be too large - that may just be photos.

Also perhaps find some different riding boots - country boots like that won't be supportive and won't make it easy to maintain correct leg position. Also, as much as I find riding out in jeans comfy, I do find my lower leg position tends to be better when wearing proper breeches - possibly as unconciously one sticks ones legs forward to avoid the seam rubbing.

Have you got someone helping you with the flatwork? Can't help but think this is the key to bringing you both forwards - she looks cute with a nice attitude, but need to get solid flatwork in place to improve everything else :) says the girl whose horse loves doing embarassing dressage tests...
 

tonitot

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Thanks for the advice :) I don't currently have a school to work in (keeping her at work has a few major downfalls!) but I do know of a school I can hire locally, just need to get my bum in gear and actually ring them! Until then, I try to school on our hacks, lots of leg yield, shoulder in and travers(sp??) (which are both currently something to be desired! But we try) which has helped her a bit but obviously would get better with lessons and a school. Transitions is something we struggle with, she gets very buzzed up when we do lots and I've tried to work through it in the hope that she'll get the message but she just gets worse to the point where getting from trot to walk then takes 6 or 7 strides. I've only recently started the back and forth within the pace and this seems to have the same outcome :/ I do need lessons but at the moment money is a bit tight (xc lesson was an early birthday present) so at the moment I'm working on the flaws I know I have.

Boots, I stick my legs forward in whatever boots I'm wearing but I do need to get some proper riding ones.

I hadn't thought about maybe unconsciously putting my leg forward to prevent the seams on my jeans rubbing, I've never noticed them doing it but I've been riding in jeans for so long now I probably wouldn't remember if they ever did! I only have jeans and a pair of white jods so perhaps I should invest in some breeches and see if it helps :) I don't have anyone to help me on the ground but I am planning (when I have a bit more money and some transport) on going to have lessons with Ros at Fenning Farm, hopefully this will help us and stop Ethel getting so buzzy when we go places (she doesn't get silly, just a bit excited and easily distracted).

Her bit does look too big in the pics but doesn't in real life, she was in a 5inch but it was a tad too small so this one is a 5.5 inch which might be a tad big but they don't do that one in 5.25.

I know it seems like I'm poo-pooing all your ideas but some are things I have already tried and have failed (so far anyway) but I really do appreciate your advice and will try the things we haven't already, and will definitely be getting lessons ASAP :)
 
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