Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Worst. Ride. Ever.

I had an incredibly bad ride today. Like, so bad I really don't even want to talk about it but I feel like I need to post anyway.

It started off with some pretty nice flatwork. Then, I went to jump a crossrail and it all went to crap. The first jump was "okay" but not great. And she just started to rush and, what I felt was overjumping, although Victoria said she didn't look like she was and looked good.

And then I got frustrated and she got out of control, including taking off with me and ignoring me for about half a lap. That's not her at all. And I lost my temper and we had another fight. I was determined to make her jump "with sense", not allowing that I was doing something wrong.

This ended in me nearly coming off twice over jumps, and also causing one of the kids to fall off a pony. Yes. Amber took off a second time, and I put her on a 20m circle because I was like "Well, if you want to canter, you're going to work at it!" And then she took a weird step, dove in and the next thing I see is a little girl and a pony. I thought I was going to come off there as well, and I wished I had soon as I saw the little girl was no longer on the pony.

Seriously, I have never wanted to just quit more in my entire life. I've never felt like a worse rider, and I just felt like a moron. I mean, what adult rider gets so caught up in a temper tantrum that they run children off ponies?

I've got several theories about what went wrong today. It all comes down to, I don't think I was applying myself as much as I needed to. I think I was in her mouth too much after the first jump because I felt like she was rushing and we all know how she reacts to that - rush right through. She needs super light contact that she can go into on her on. We ended up with three refusals, because I started ducking out.

And then we had like, 2 decent jumps, some "acceptable" trotwork and we ended.

I don't understand how I have such an awesome ride over fences and then a few days later, I can't do even easier stuff than I did so recently!

Another theory is that I get too comfortable about them. I put in the effort and it seems so easy. Then I don't go forward as much as I need to. I don't give as much as I need to. Even though I got left behind more times than I want to admit, I can say I never caught her in the mouth once. But I almost feel like being too far back was causing her to want to launch herself a little harder to throw me up in a position that's easier for her.

I'm over-analyzing it and I probably shouldn't.

I'm never having another ride like that though. Losing my temper does nothing but make her upset.

I'm going to just do some stuff on the flat for the next couple of rides. Lots of lateral work, circles, and transitions. And the next time we jump, I'll be paying more attention to myself instead of worrying about if she's going to rush. And if it's bad and she's getting rushy, I'll be throwing my hands up, working her on the flat for a few minutes, trying again, and if it's still crap, work her more on the flat and call it a day. I refuse to push it too far.

I was going to give her two days off, but I don't feel like I should do that after the crap ride today. I feel like we need to end on a good note before we take a mini-vacation.

Our inconsistency with jumping makes me want to go do dressage (which would probably help us, actually!). Something I know. It just feels so easy some days and so hard others, and then when it feels hard I feel like a crap rider because nobody I know has ever had this much trouble with freaking crossrails. Tiny crossrails. Trotting tiny crossrails. Why does it suddenly feel so enormous, because it definitely didn't just a few days ago? I remember I went over one finishing my course and kind of laughed to myself because it felt so ridiculous and small in comparison with the still ridiculous and small verticals.

Still not sure how Victoria talked me into cantering the tiny vertical. She was counting strides with me and as I counted with her I remember thinking "Well crap. It's too late now, I'm going over. If I eat the dust, I just eat dust."

Somehow thinking about that one makes me feel better, actually. Although I felt like I landed a little more forward than I wanted to be, it was a really good jump. And it inspires me to have more good jumps. I just pretended all the jumps were about 3ft that day I and it seemed to work for my position. And again, I'm thinking that's it. I just need to put in more effort with my position. She's not that experienced with jumping, after all. She needs me to be doing what I'm supposed to with my body to help her balance. And if I'm not forward enough, and holding her back towards it, she's off balance and she's going to take off weird (thus "overjumping").

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