Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lesson time

On Friday Jim and I hauled to Steph's to do a lesson with one of her assistant trainers and a long term friend of mine.  There were four of us in the lesson and it was a blast.  The other horses were all more experienced than Prisoner, but winter break is the great equalizer.
Post lesson group shot
Louie (horse I have done catch ride jumping on several times) is on the left, Zida, Prisoner, and then Moses on the right.
Sweet drawing skillz
This was our course, it was a great footwork lesson.  The all started as poles on the ground, both were a one stride to a one stride.  I needed to the stay to the inside of the turns to make the strides on my tiny boy until the jumps went up and then the middle rode fine.  I would say the curves were around equal to a 30 meter circle.
Such cute
The left line had standards, the right line had blocks for standards.  We started by cantering the standard line off the left lead, coming back to the trot and trotting the block line on a right bend.  Then they all went up to half crossrails and we cantered the whole thing with a change of lead between the lines, or within the line.  Finally the Standard line went to a crossrail, vertical, crossrail, and the block line went to a tiny vertical, larger vertical, tiny vertical.  We swapped between starting with the left lead over the standard line going to the right lead over the block line, and the left lead on the block line going to right lead on the standard line.
The first time through the poles on the ground Prisoner was like, 'these are three feet tall, leap, leap, leap!'  That said, he landed in balance and was immediately listening to me again, which is a huge improvement for him.  We continued looping around the two lines until things were not so exciting and then the jumps started going up.  He was spot on and very game.  He was landing in the lead we needed or putting in very tidy lead changes.
Nice and quiet

We ended by working an exercise over the standard line only.  We would canter through and then turn back to catch the second two elements and turn back again to catch the other second two elements.  Confused?  No worries I have video!

Believe it or not he was foot perfect the first time through this, but alas it is not on video.  A big thing while I am riding him is to help him along, but not micro manage every step, he needs to figure stuff out for himself as well.  So sometimes we counter canter and once we cross cantered, but the best thing is he doesn't typically do it again, he really seems to have a mind for figuring out what needs done.  Our ugly jumps came from not having enough pace and Prisoner not always choosing to really rock on his haunches, but again we worked though it and he finished strong.
figuring out a deep spot
Um ok horse

He looks good, not liking how perched I am
The biggest takeaways were to make sure we are actually moving forward and not just up and down.  He is good at 'looking pretty' but I need to be sure he is actually using his body.  I have been really working on this on the flat at home, but apparently decided it would be best to forget about it as soon as there were jumps.  I also need to actually sit down in the saddle, I get into my cruising gallop position which is completely useless and ineffective in course work.  Also, apparently I like to have my foot way home in the stirrup, no clue why that started, but I need to fix it asap.  I can't exactly have a solid lower leg over jumps if my foot is so far home I can't get my heel down.  Over all I was very pleased with the ride and it gave me lots of things to work on which is the whole reason we go!


  1. Sounds like you got some great reminders!

  2. Looks like a fun lesson! Prisoner is looking extra spiffy.

  3. Sounds like a fab lesson & I think you both look awesome in the photos! Wear her looks ideal for lessons too - so jealous as our temps have dropped again since Sunday & more snow is forcast. Major boo :-(

  4. i LOVE this exercise and am definitely stealing it haha. Prisoner looks really good, and i like your assessment of the ride. he seems to be catching on really quickly!