Monday, February 8, 2016

We actually are starting to look like we know what we are doing

What I love and hate about winters here is how up and down the weather can day youll have fifty degree sunshine and the next frigid and frozen. This last Saturday for our jump lesson we happened to be on the kinder warmer day and lots of snow melting! 

Tillie says I am ready!
I took the opportunity to practice self loading a bit more with Tillie before leaving...just going on and off, going partially on and standing and then backing partially off and waiting. Tillie was a good girl and it helped with her impatience of standing in the trailer before leaving. She can stand beautifully once we get where we are going, but at home will paw and get antsy. Not a huge deal at all...but something if we can work on it, why not. 

We were solo this week in the trailer with our usual trailer mate out of town, but Tillie really didnt care.

Trailering alone means more hay more me!

It was pretty uneventful, which I am really starting to love. We tacked up and this time, I didnt even bring my pelham as a "just-in-case-we-need-it" and I had a moment of crap what I we do...but decided to start giving Tillie the benefit of the doubt and just go with it.

All professional and business now...who needs the pelham!?

We had a much smaller group this lesson with a lot less going it was really nice and quiet. No distractions really and the atmosphere just felt really relaxed and much less tense. I noticed re-watching the videos that I had a much longer rein and trust in Tillie which lead to a much happer looser and relaxed Tillie.

Happy as a clam

 Warming up on the flat Tillie seemed a bit inconsistent...just mistepping here or unbalanced there. Not hugely, just minor things that she would give a little head shake at threatening to be bad. First transition into canter she did a mini explosion, but for her it was just a matter of letting her get the wiggles out and then she was perfectly quiet when we did a few more both ways.

She really wanted to suck behind the bit and trick me into grabbing at her. In the confined space like this indoor she is really tricky - She likes to have me help her, but doesnt want the contact to be too heavy or a certain type depending on where we are in the ring. I tried not to play into it and just stayed steady and let her sort it out.

Nice Knees!!!
So P set up an outside 3 stride line to warm up over and we trotted up to it pretty darn consistent and without rushing...Tillie jumped both like she hasnt seen a fence before but landed quiet and together so just one more time over it was fine. Here is one of the warm up attempts through the line:

I love in the indoor I can ride Tillie forward without worrying about the other side. The indoor naturally makes her more aware and careful making it way more pleasant. The 3 strides rode really nice and smoothly.

P put them up to about 2'6 and then added a jump on the opposite outside line with a barrel under it and had us try this line. Tillie was pretty whatever and unphased by it:

I love having these videos to watch back because I can reflect and almost get more bang for my buck and experience my lesson all over again. Not to mention, visually see what works and what doesnt. I noticed this lesson Tillies form is really getting better! She is stretching out over more of the fences and starting to use herself better.

My equitation woes look like they have helped improve my own form too! 

P built on this other outside line and added another fence making it a 2 stride. It gave the horses a bit more to think about and required a bit more of a push ride. I tend to prefer trotting to jumps with Tillie's old tendency to get too forward. I know I need to let this go because she has proven she isnt a nut job anymore, but old habits die hard and this line I really was unsure about cantering in. Luckily, Tillie ate it up and again was pretty chill about it. I LOVED her form over the first fence in this line:

A Still of us over the barrel...Really proud of my equitation! and look Tillie is stretching out! 
P then set up two fences in the middle of the ring that eventually would make up a course. I love that she sets these things up, has us jump them individually or in pieces before doing them all together in a course. Good thing because these jumps were a bit more narrow then Tillie is used to (I believe they were 8ft poles rather then the 12ft) and she questioned the gate the first time. It was barely anything, and kind of adorable...I simple said "no no" and encouraged with a little squeeze and she said "well ok":

The hogsback was a ton of fun! Mostly becasue it was the one I was the most skeptical to jump since it looked like soooo much. But it rode really nicely. 

I think Tillie has a secret Hunter buried deep somewhere we are tapping into.

P put the diagonal fences up (the hogs back she said was 2'9) and then had us try piecing together the 2 stride outside line with the diagonal fences trying to think about riding a nice approach. Tillie and I really found our groove at this point and the distances came easy. Usually I need to count out loud and loudly to keep a rhythm and sort a distance out. Tillie was all business and really not giving any care to the higher height of the fences:

Big smiles from me! That last fence was just a moment so in tune with each other it felt sooooo good. 
After this run through P changed how we were running the course making the turns much tighter....These diagonal fences subsequently because trickier more technical rides. P told us we had to ride more forward through the corner and really sit on the outside hind leg to keep them balanced through the turn. P had us thinking about counter bending through the turn to keep them straighter so their hind legs didnt squirt out behind them losing impulsion:

Our little blip was my error after the hogs back and not setting Tillie down enough and committing to the change. She does tend to get bracey and rather then sit and make her do it before the corner, I tried not to micromanage, but it turned into me not riding enough. Because I got the change so late tillie questioned the gate again, but was a good, honest girl and took it anyway.
Pay attention Mom!!!
 Notice this round, P changed the first 3 stride line to become a two stride with the second fence an oxer. This helped getting balance back and regrouping happen a little easier for the tight turn to the hogs back.

Soaring over the oxer.
 P had me try the diagonal lines one more time to make sure I got the change sooner, unfortunately the first part got missed, but I did get the simple change before the corner!:

All in all, I was super please with this lesson. Tillie and I both seemed to be on the same page and when I lacked Tillie picked up the slack like a seasoned pro. I am so impressed with how much shes improved and this footage from this lesson showed her form becoming much more consistent. Sure she still wants to curl under herself still at times, but shes stretching sooo much better and really sitting now. Here's to hoping this snow they are calling for isnt THAT bad or misses us so we can keep working at it!  


  1. Tillie was so gooooood!!! the indoor really isn't that bad when it's less crowded like that haha

  2. She looks sooo chill cantering those!

  3. She definitely wants to play hunter pony :) What an honest, quiet girl she was in these!

  4. Good girl Tillie!! Looking awesome :)

  5. She's really figured out what to do with her legs! No shore heaving over her shoulder and you look AWESOME!