Friday, June 24, 2016

Dom Schramm lesson prepping for Training Level

So as most of you know, we have our sights set to move up to Training level this year. The plan is to test the waters this weekend and Fair Hill's derby which is basically set up like a stadium and XC portion of an event, but not timed. So I am going in with the schooling mentality: We will jump all the training fences if they feel good...if not we will reroute and do novice.

standing perfectly in cross ties before our lesson
I was determined to get a jump lesson in with Dom Schramm this week to talk over my plans for this event as well as whats coming down the pike...and to jump actual training level sized fences. So I sucked it up and paid for a private lesson with my barn mate on vacation. It really isnt unreasonably priced and totally worth it!

Resting up before lesson time
Tillie was a bit spry starting out in warm up, which came as no surprise with her having the day before off to rest. Dom coached me through how to get her off my hand and had us try some shoulder fore and softening which worked really nicely. He suggested trying more of this so we get more and more strides in a row where she self carries and gets the nicer uphill gait. He also had us work on bending off our leg before using reins and doing it inside, straight and counter bent without changing the rhythm in the trot. It was a bit tricky at first because I still want to ride her like a green bean over exaggerate, but Dom talked me through being more subtle about it.

Hello gorgeous new thinline pad
We warmed up over a small vertical addressing my concerns about Tillie being harder at shows to get the left lead. Turns out I drop my left shoulder and dont ride her straight enough (just like Dan told me in a lesson a few months ago when working on flying changes over ground poles). The smaller jump, Tillie really pulled me to and got strong so Dom addressed the half halt and had us working on the turns to back her off, getting her straight to get the lead and me being softer in my elbows. You can see in the video below a bit of these issues warming up:

After talking about getting her straighter and opening my rein more without leaning...He put them up a bit despite the lead not really coming (he told me not to stress and stay consistent) and VOILA the lead came:

Couple things: I really need to work on my left leg sinking into my heel way more, releasing more..but holy cow can my mare jump!! It felt good :)

We jump at home in the snaffle so its tough at first to get her lighter, but by the time we did this exercise with the higher fence height, she settled into a nice rhythm. Dom complemented my riding and said he saw improvement on my rid-ability and decision making which was really nice to hear.

Tillie digging in and gettin it! 
While Tillie and I caught our breath and Dom was setting the course, he chatted with us about our goals, this weekend etc. He thought my plan was solid and even suggested we try to qualify for the AEC's which means more recognized shows. I dont think that will happen this year with us only doing two unless we manage to kick butt and get 1st at Loch Moy, but I told him I would be really interested in it next year as a goal.

see left heel isnt down, but look at my horses tight hind end!!
He set the jumps to a training course and sent us needed some refining, mostly timing of the half halt and more releasing on my part, but Dom said he liked what he saw and raised the fences again:

The first fence took me a bit off guard, but I felt like I recovered ok...and Dom was super please with how well she was jumping and told us to call it a day on that. She didnt touch a single rail and Dom said he could have raised them another 3" with how well and high she was jumping. He gushed a bit (Ill take that any day!!) about how she was a better than average jumper and said we would have a blast at training level this weekend.

We also will be trying to meet up at our fair hill event july 2nd so we can refine more things at Novice.

It felt really good to have this lesson and it was exactly what I needed before Saturday. Dom loved that we jumped in the snaffle and said to keep doing that at home and was on board with still using the pelham since its been working so well. We talked about possible trying the bit converter again and ditching the curb rein since XC at training level we will have a bank drop combo which means needing to slip the reins and re-adjust quickly.

A little better with my form and heel here
All in all its really exciting. And I really am excited to have a trainer who is excited about my horse. Jumping her at 3ft felt comfortable despite my worries it would be hairy or weird...but she just takes it in stride. I LOVE how game she is.

REALLY big oxer = NBD for Tillie
Finally, I am thrilled with the thinline pad and its just perfect timing now the jumps are getting bigger. I may need to add some shims to the front like my other pad, but the material of the thinline being kinder for Tillie's back makes it a huge win in my book.

So HAPPY FRIDAY everyone! Wish us luck tomorrow :)


  1. Good luck!!!! You guys will kick butt! :)

  2. Good luck. That last jump is awesome.

  3. Phew! You guys are looking terrific!

  4. Jeez Louise - you two are KILLING it. You guys have truly accomplished so much this year - well done