I did my highest jump with Dandy yet! Granted it was the last jump in a gird but for me that makes it even better since he and I have really struggled with grids in the past.
It’s the first lesson I’ve had in almost two weeks thanks to being sick and going to Seattle and I almost gave it up for a training ride instead. I’m so glad I didn’t. I feel like Dandy and I really started clicking. Things felt so nice.
We started with flat work and I found out something that I don’t think anyone has ever explained to me, I’m using my feet wrong! This whole time I’m thinking “Push my heels down” but that is only locking my knee and making the whole leg swing. Instead I need to be thinking “Push off the ball of my foot.” While my leg is still very week, and Madchen is still going to make me ride without stirrups starting next week, I felt so much more secure in the saddle. Crazy how a little change in thinking can fix everything.
After a warm up over a small cross rail, our lesson turned to the grid. When fully set up it is a cross rail one stride to a cross rail, one stride to a vertical with two strides to an oxer. We started with just the first two cross rails and the vertical set as a cross rail. Now Dandy really has no problem with these little jumps so the focus can be all on how I handle him. I needed to stay soft to the jump, relax my shoulders, keep my elbows back (but soft), squeeze with my calves and stay up.
By the time the vertical and the oxer were being put up, I was making huge progress. On the last few times through with everything up and the oxer going higher, I felt it! It was soft, it was bouncy, it was heaven.
Krissie got this awesome video of us going through the grid for the last time and I’m happy with it. Is my position perfect? No. But I am seeing improvement and that’s the whole point. I’m sitting up over the jump and not rushing him through it. My release is getting better and my legs aren’t swinging nearly as much! This doesn’t happen over night. Super excited for next week’s jumping!
Oh and yes, I did shave him again. Still have to do the head and I’m a little nervous for it. Still, Dandy’s been good for his clips up to this point so hopefully that attitude will keep up.