Often, when I explain a problem to my riding instructor she has an exercise up her sleeve.
On Wednesday I described how Abbey got a bit full of herself jumping the cross country fences at the weekend and that she wasn’t listening to me, that she was getting a little strong, slipping out of her shoulder towards the other horses and going “whoo-hoo” after the fences that headed towards the other horses.
Clearly this is natural behaviour and not one that I would want to correct by ‘telling her off’. Nevertheless it’s something that I would like to discourage! My riding instructor didn’t disappoint, before I knew it there were four fence small fences erected in the arena.
She explained the exercise and what she wanted to see; me using my outside leg and rein to guide Abbey around the curves, no drifting of the quarters and no drifting through the shoulder.
Boy, was it hard!
We started with the two jumps on the long side, on a 20m circle. I was supposed to jump both fences maintaining a ryhthm. At first, on the left rein, it was a total disaster, we barely made the fences and certainly not on a good stride. We adjusted the circle to help Abbey and I get a comfortable stride but I was still making egg shapes, particularly on the approached to the fences. The drifting was something those car racers would have been proud of!
After 5 mins we switched reins. And wow! What a difference. On the right rein, easy peezy! Just shows how much stronger our right rein is….I’ve some work to do!
We switched back to the left rein, and got it a little better, but still not where I was hoping it would be and then we introduced some of the other circles/fences.
This is definitely an exercise I will be practicing and I’ll be keeping a careful eye on all our flatwork to ensure that we work both reins equally. #practicemakes perfect!!