Monday, 26 May 2014

Xtraodinary XC

After our not quite as successful as I would have liked last XC session at Tweseldown I've been working hard on my PMA and have been jumping some bigger fences at home to prepare for our next go. I had a jump lesson last weekend and my YO commented that I was riding better into my fences and was more determined - result!
Getting more confident
So, determined to ride rather than sit like a dead fish, we trundled off to a local venue that offers tiddly jumps right up to 100 so I knew it would cater for what we needed. Buddy started off very green and backwards but instead of worrying about it I focused on letting him gain confidence in what we were doing and that seemed to work!
Warming up
We started off over a simple hay feeder and then moved on to a tiddly baby ditch and then strung a few fences together. Buddy was hilarious over the ditch initially but got confidence the more he did and was happily popping over and combining it with other fences so we moved on to the bigger ditch.

Popping the bigger ditch
After a few goes he was happily trotting and cantering over the larger ditch so I started to string this with a roll top to house to sharks teeth. We had a few 'I'm going... I'm going.. Nooo I'm not' moments at the start and then with the flowerbox at the end but as the session went on his default was to go (even if he jumped them 3' higher than necessary) which was great. 

At no point whatsoever did I worry about his footing - the ground was quite slippery in some places as we have had so much rain - he feels better than he did last year as his balance has improved massively and that has really helped. I also found it hugely interesting to review my footage - all these pics are stills from videos (I use instagrabber which is free) and I can go frame by frame to see how he is landing. As you can see from the pictures below he has a fabulous landing on the flat but he was also consistently landing heel first after the fences which was really interesting as I don't think this was the case last summer but I'd need to review the footage again to be sure.

Clever pony managing a heel first landing
We are definitely at the stage to start thinking about getting that first event in the diary and I do have one in mind for the end of June. I would like to get another couple of schooling sessions in as I would like to be at the stage where he is confidently popping fences first time rather than having his green wobbles as he could go backwards at an event and I want to make his first experience as positive as possible for both of us.
Textbook example of a heel first landing!

The next week is going to be busy, we have our first dressage lesson with Sara Jane Lanning on Friday and then our first ODE on Sunday - it's all three phases but arena XC so will be a good test for us both.

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