Friday, February 5, 2016

Post Snowpacolypse riding - Jump lesson recap

The weekend of January 22nd, we got hit with the biggest snowfall our state has ever seen since recorded snowfalls in history of our state. Pretty darn impressive. It was nice, at first. The first few days cleaning, cooking and catching up on the neglected things...but after 3 days of not ONE snow plow down our street and being forced to work (from home but it still sucked since everyone else was off) I was going stir crazy.

Sooo much snow...
Even as recent as yesterday some roads are still not plowed to the full width of both lanes...meaning riding was not happening. I was soo envious of barnmates that could go during the day to ride the fluffy fresh powder, but I couldnt get out there before dark and the lack of lights sort of put a stop to me trudging through almost 3ft of snow by myself to ride.

For those that could play in the snow, I got some pics to hold me over :)

Tillie clearly enjoyed her mini vacation. 

With snow/ice covering all available riding surfaces, that meant no teaching lessons for like I usually do, but luckily our usual saturday jump lesson with P was still on since they have an indoor! I was so excited I got to the barn early to do a bit of grooming and love on Tillie. 

Never so happy to see this face! 

The plus side to all this snow - her whites on her legs have never been whiter! Now we have rain moving in and that will quickly change that, but thats ok...that hopefully means a ride-able ring with the lights!

We loaded up to go to P and once again she self loaded like a charm! I really am getting quite spoiled! The indoor here is quite small, so trying to fit us all in was a bit hectic on top of snow occasionally sliding off the roof sending all the horses into a frenzy. Tillie got used to this by the end and only had a few sassy mare moments.

Because most of us havent been riding and because the deep snow does wear them out, we did a simple low grid just to get us all back in the swing of things. I dont think anyone was particularly thrilled with their rides...but all in all you could tell our horses were true champs just trying their hardest despite being fatigued.

I spoke with P about the head wagging tracking left and we ruled out soreness since she just saw the chiro, decided to try the dentist (since shes due anyway) but that it was most likely that she isnt really through enough in the bridle. So during warm up I really thought about riding her forward without rushing and getting her into the contact more. That really seemed to help! 

I made sure to giver her a lot of walk breaks through with all the recent time that wasnt helpful for our rhythm, but was great to work on transitions. 

oh hey!?

P had us warm up over some trot poles and then raised a few to be cavaletti. Tillie seemed bored and did it no problems. We moved on to cantering one ground pole and then two. Tillie did it tracking right beautifully...tracking left the first time she got a bit flat and grabby but second time through figured out her balance without trying to goad me into helping her. 

So onto jumping:

First attempt through, you could tell Tillie just wasnt quite sure and the tightness of the indoor made her a bit nervous about her balance/feet jumping:

When P had us try to come through again things got a bit interesting:

So ok, it wasnt great...but we recovered and I took a deep breath and knew I needed to let her go a bit more and stop micromanaging her. When I do, she feels claustrophobic and gets behind my leg, too light in contact and just stops listing to turning off my aids. What is nice about P's lesson format is you get to sit and reflect while others I took some time to reset before we tried again:

MUCH better this time through even tracking left. So the answer all along is to stay off of her face...well duh!!

So P raised the fences a teeeeeny bit more and we all did it a few more times. These last two times Tillie really started getting tired. This round, I should have trotted another lap to wake her up after sitting still for so long, but she pulled us through and got it together:

 P had us go through ONE more time and commented that Tillie would jump the first one well, the second kinda ok and the third one like "OMG I cant make it over" so we called it quits after this one:

I walked away from the lesson a bit ambivalent. I was really happy with the fact that Tillie was pretty much all business aside from a few minor incidents...but I didnt feel like we had done anything great or worthy of improvement. Regardless, I realized I actually wanted to do more in a lesson...when in the past I would dread running through the exercises and get a sinking feeling. Its awesome that now, I cant get enough.

Sooo tired after the lesson
I also was fully prepared to watch back the videos and be disappointed in both my form and Tillie's...only to be pleasantly surprised at Tillie! (My form still left some to be desired, but I am not beating myself up too much here with all the time off - Mainly my release lacking). 

Despite these fences being small, Tillie was jumping really well...mostly over just the first one through the line and her form would die out more and more over each additional one. BUT the fact that shes jumping even these smaller fences so well is promising right?!

Not to mention her trot looks pretty darn amazing too despite time off:


I know I am gushing a bit...but I self doubt ALOT. Both myself and Tillie so its nice to see footage that makes me feel good.


  1. i definitely thought it was easier approaching the grid from the right turn... really tho it's just a hard arena to do much grid work in, even tho it's so good for the horses (despite what they thing about that haha)

    1. I really like it to work through Tillie's claustrophobia...I am noticing a difference and that she does the whole forward, but behind the leg thing more in here then anywhere else.

  2. The stills look awesome! I love how white Apollo is in the winter - one good thing about snow! :)

  3. Sometimes you have to have those 'okay' rides to make you realize all the other really great ones! Glad you got out of the snow and were able to ride.

    1. that is true...I am so hard on us I always want the rides to be good! Lol but those not so good ones are the building blocks to get the good ones i guess.

  4. Hey! I'm a new follower but I got all caught up with your posts! She looks wicked fancy at the trot! I still don't know how you guys survive with all those rider sin that indoor. I would certainly run someone over!