Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stadium Exercises: Listening to our Horses

As usual, Jimmy asked each rider for his/her name and one sentence about the horse. Ironically, no one (including me) could limit their introduction to their horse to a sentence. :)

The first thing each person had to do was to adjust their stirrup length, making sure as they let their legs hang the stirrup bar hit them at or slightly above the ankle bone. The ball of the foot should rest on the tread. With weight on the outside branch, each rider was told to stretch their calves.

Then they were ready to go.

He had each participant post at the trot over a 2 foot vertical, remind folks to "keep posting" and not to stop. "Don't try to guess when he'll take it! When we do that, we usually guess wrong!" Boy, if I could but remember ONE THING.....

Several of the riders were hunters, and Jimmy made sure they were looking at the right place: "Look at the jump, not the sky! Right through his ears. When it disappears, THEN look up."

One rider was threatened that if she didn't start using her right leg, she'd be stirrupless. "Hey! I saw your right ankle come to life just now! Maybe we can do this sport after all!"

Riders were encouraged to have "soft arms". He told one rider who was concentrating on that "That was the best jump of your life!"

"Make sure your horse can ALWAYS use his head and neck! Give more in the air!"

One rider who had a "fresh" horse, and Jimmy told her to grip with her knees so that she didn't confuse him by using her lower leg.

Once again, Jimmy had us count before the jumps--AND after the jumps (with "Land! One! Two! Three!....). He said riders that can't do that type of counting aren't ready for related distances.

For a rider whose horse wasn't adjustable: "It's called dressage!"

MORE than one rider heard "wait with your upper body"

We had a series of jumps in a circle of sorts, with two jumps in a row for a straight line, or a bending line. Jimmy had us do circles after one pair before we did the next set. "This helps to balance your horse. If you need multiple circles, TAKE THEM. Make sure your horse is balanced before you attempt the second line!" By doing circles, your horse lands knowing he'll have to rebalance, and he's likely to do it on his own.

I noticed a lot of the riders who were tense make their horses tense. DUH. I wish I could tatto "RELAX" on my psyche!

"Don't distract your horse before the jump!"

"Soften your fingers--then open the door!"

"Don't pull as much on landing...the horse needs to be soft after a jump"

To one rider, Jimmy noted: "You want so badly to be a good rider you don't allow your horse to be a good horse!"

(That's another tatoo I need!)

"You aren't lazy enough! You are working too hard! You need to be lazier to rider this horse well!" (this was to a tense, eager rider on a tense, eager horse)

Make sure your shoulder is above your knee!

This one I loved:

"Don't look on the ground! All that money is mine!"

Several riders heard "You can't jump without your horse!" It's nice to know I'm not the only one who jumps ahead. I heard that one a lot.

He told one rider to make her "reins shorter, and her arms longer"

"Land in your ankles!" Jimmy was BIG on making sure the horse was comfortable. Helping the horse be balanced was one of his major efforts.

Another favorite line: "Just because you had a knock down doesn't mean you can Forrest Gump your way to the next fence!"

When a rider tried to explain WHY she "Forrest Gumped" Jimmy said "Am I wearing my 'I give a shit' shirt?"

During my ride, Paddy got tired of the "stop, start, stop, start" business of waiting our turn, and he got further and further behind my leg. I was getting frustrated, kicking and probably flapping my legs, but to no avail. Finally, underpowered, he crashed over an oxer and I popped off. I wasn't hurt, and got back on, but I was frustrated: "what do I do? He's behind my leg!" Jimmy said "I'm going to turn my back. When I do, hit that lazy Irish sonofabitch so I don't see you!"

So I popped him once with the crop....and we were suddenly "powered" again. The rest of the time, I was the "Model" (we were, in Jimmy's words, "on fire"). Sigh. Wish my I could hear my "wake up" calls before they hit me over the head.

To another woman who didn't want to hit her horse, Jimmy said "Ever housebroken a puppy? You rub his nose in it. Then it's over. You don't carry a grudge. That's what this is like."

Some other gems:

"I'm laughing at you, I'm not laughing with you!"

"Don't flap your arms; use your spurs!"

"Experience is what you get right after you needed it!" (DEFINITELY true in my case)

I need to learn that when I get frustrated, something needs to change.

Later in the evening, several of the participants went to the Red Earth Feed and Tack Store. What a cool place! Everyone came home with more than they really needed. Later that evening, we gathered what food we had and brought it to Laura and David's house, where we had a magnificent "pot luck" dinner. Good food, good conversation, and yes, some good wine. But an early enough evening so that we were ready for the 8:00 talk the next morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment