July 25, 2010

Practice Makes..

Well, we're a long way off perfect. But practice certainly makes a difference. You can't fix things just by wishing they were better, but there are lots of little exercises that make a big impact. Thanks to all of my buddies on facebook I have gone out to the paddock this week armed with heaps of small things to try in order to work on my jumping position.

The main exercise I've used is putting a hair-tie or plait about two-thirds the way up the mane, and reaching for that over the fence. I found that sometimes I will still 'float' my hands before reaching, so to try and tackle that I've been doing big forward canters around a hill paddock, coming into jumping position, resting my hands on the horse's neck, then moving my hands & body forward as if jumping. Just trying to keep in contact with the neck as much as possible. I still find it more comfortable to do an automatic style release (toward the bit) rather than a crest release (up the mane) - but I want to be able to use either, depending on the horse and the situation.

I have had about three or four rides on Xev with the sidesaddle now. We suspected a bit of thrush in her front hooves, so have treated for that (certainly the weather for such things). She is so kind with the sidesaddle and tries to go very smoothly for me. However I did attempt a canter - on the left rein which I'm told is harder? Anyway, it just resulted in me impaling myself on one of the horns on the saddle and yelping! Poor Xev didn't know what to do and just halted - what a good horse!

Neo and Gem are mostly just working on fitness, so they have been the 2 that I'm using to practice my jumping position exercises. It is quite amazing how different they both feel over fences - and Gem has such powerful paces that she makes Neo feel like a pony when I get on him.

I've also started doing small rides down the road on Neo... we haven't encountered a car yet (thankfully) and he still seems to think drains are spooky, but it's good to have a road that I can ride on if I want - I certainly didn't have that living in Pauatahanui.

Next show for us? Probably up at Tielcey Park again. But the schedules are starting to come out for more events, hopefully the weather co-operates unlike last season when almost everything on grass surfaces was cancelled.

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