Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cross Country Schooling

S and I headed to one of the local pony clubs for Cross Country Schooling. The course was opened at 4 to anyone who wanted to pay the $10 fee. Thankfully S had a meeting at 5.30pm (she is off to Show Jump Champs on Sunday) so by the time we saddled up it had cooled down a LOT. It has been really hot here recently and Jack and I were glad to be out of the worst of the sun.

We started off small (as always) and Jack refused the very first jump. It was a hedge and I'm pretty sure I looked down. Looking down is my worst fault when it comes to jumping and I constantly have to remind myself to look up. This came into play later when Jack refused a relatively easy ramp about 6 times. I was getting frustrated with it and so I left it and came back later once we were on more of a roll. He refused again but I realised I had looked down so the next time I came in, I clamped my legs on, kept my eyes locked on a point up the hill and was soft with my hands and he jumped! I will definitely have to watch that in the future. Jack took awhile to settle into the jumping which is strange for him but I always find he is a bit more difficult after a day off.

My favourite moment of the session was the banks into and out of the sunken road. Up until my last Cross Country Lesson I had never done down hill banks. The technique that is supposed to be applied on a down hill bank is basically sit back, eyes up and let the horse take the reins through your hands. For some reason, when I try doing this I always feel really un-balanced and feel like I have no control as Jack would take off after the bank. When I rode up to the down hill bank, I leaned forward, looked down and put my leg on. Jack jumped and I felt perfectly in balance and control. I tried this a couple of more times and it worked great. I think that this will set me up for trouble in the future on larger banks and so I will keep trying the correct way but at Pre-Training it hopefully shouldn't matter too much. Doing the whole combination felt great and I was really proud of Jack, he jumped even though I was looking down.

We had one more refusal at a reasonable sized picket fence. I think I was looking down again so I cantered up to it and when he slowed down to a walk, I pushed him on and he jumped it from almost a standstill.

The rest of the night was so so. We did some Training size jumps which I haven't had the guts to do before without having my "safety blanket" instructor with me. I think I need one of those Sports Psychiatrists Beckz was talking about. I have confidence issues when it comes to jumping which I can mostly talk myself through but I find that having an instructor really boosts my confidence.

I have a cross country lesson with Sue tomorrow which should be good. I'm planning to jump the "Dog house" which I've been wanting to do since I saw it. Stay tuned.


Beckz said...

Don't be so hard on yourself ducky. You haven't had him long, it takes time to form a partnership. At least you are on to it enough to figure out what you are doing wrong and fix it.

Katie said...

Thanks Beckz, that helps. I can't help but feel like I should be at the same level as my friends who are younger then me and it frustrates me (they have been riding longer then me). But we'll get there.

Pip said...

I know the feeling katie, come of my little sister's friends are out jumping 1.20 m cross country and I just like "maybe I'll take it easy today" lol. But the thing is with cross country you CAN'T look down :( just concentrate on your line away from the jump and the next jump ahead like you would with show jumping and you'll be grand! :) Plus your confience will grow in Jack the more you get to know the little knacks that makes him tick :) Good luck in your lesson with Sue xxx

Colste said...

Every day can't be great because then the great days won't be great, they'll just be normal :) I'm always nervous when I am jumping a new bigger / scary jump until I do it a couple of times...I think it's natural

Katie said...

Pip - It can be a bit down heartning sometimes can't it? But I try not to let it get to me and just remind myself that I shouldn't compare myself to others. Thanks for the tip

Katie said...

Colste - Hehe good point! Self presevation comes into play a lot sometimes doesn't it? If only we were invincible.