Went to the barn to ride Johnny this afternoon. I meant to ride Emmy too, but I had to scurry off to pick mom up from work, so that had to get put on hold for another day. I think she is feeling neglected :(
John, however, was fabulous today! I put him back in his normal bit and rode him with a small jumping bat and he was so wonderful! He gave me lots of really nice stretchy trots and cantered right off on both leads. I set up a few jumps, a cross rail and two verticals and he didn't hesitate to any of them! We worked on cantering in to the verticals, because I think he's ready to start doing that more, and we only missed two distances :) I did however, realize that when I missed the distances, I was coming into the jump in a half seat...cantering in like I would on Emmy who perfers you not to sit on her back. I also wasn't riding any particular rhythm, I was just kind of riding and expecting John to work it out...which he is really too green to do. Basically, I wasn't riding the horse I had underneith me. Once again, I was riding Emmy, not John. So on our next approach, I sat down and gave my elbows instead of my shoulders, I felt the rhythm and POOF I saw the distance. Each time after that, we met the jump in perfect cadence.
And so, I have learned these four things today:
1) Johnny is VERY happy to respect his nice, smooth french link bit after being ridden once in Emmy's slow twist, which he needed because he was starting to be a bit of a bully with his mouth...
2) As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have to learn how to ride the horse that I am sitting on because John is basically the polar opposite of Emmy. I have to make a plan, and ride the plan because a) although he is nice enough to, he is not athletic enough to cover my ass over a bigger jump b) he is green and he needs a forward, confident ride and c) he doesn't have the mileage yet to fix a bad distance when it comes up...he just jumps anyway, and that isn't always a good thing.
3) Riding with a stick, even if I never use it, seems to work. Whether it's working on his psyche or mine, I don't know, but it works.
4) I can't get in a half seat and "hunter" Johnny to the jumps. I see my distances better when I sit down and ride his rhythm (probably because the rhythm isn't consistant yet.)and Johnny jumps better too.
Brecksville Horse show in 3 days!