I am happy to report that this week’s challenge was a resounding success!
We had our first jumping lesson for the first time in nearly six weeks- unheard of for a workaholic like Aleva! While the fences stayed small, the technical exercises were a great re- introduction to jumping.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t harangue anybody to take pictures or videos during my lesson. These are the exercises set up: A four stride line across the diagonal, a long approach to a single oxer, and a six stride up the far line (x-rail to pole). The x-rails were set to be quite tall in order to encourage proper jumping technique.
I was expecting Aleva to be wild, but she was quite reasonable. Still her sassy, fun little self, but never out of control or unfocused. I was especially happy with the work we did with adjustability on the six- stride line. The first time we cantered down and got the easy six. Then, my coach instructed me to ride forward, establish our “five stride” canter, and leave out a stride. For the third time, we had to collect all the way back up and get seven strides.
This is a great exercise for riders like me who sometimes struggle to keep count of strides (my one track mind betrays me!) and it’s great for horses like Aleva who tend to “lock on” to exercises once they’ve gotten the hang of it- adjusting their striding always keeps their focus on you. Adjustability is a vital skill to have in the show ring, so it’s very important to practice the basics at home!
Our lesson made me realize how rusty we are! I decided to recreate the adjustability exercise later on in the week, with the help of my videographer and spirit guide, Melissa (read more about her here). We start with seven strides, open up across the diagonal, and finish on the same line in five strides.
Very happy with Aleva! Vita- B1, it seems you can do no wrong!
Stay tuned next week for our final report back! So far, I am very happy with how Vita-B1 is performing.