I forgot Smileworthy this week (I am the worst) but I wanted to introduce a new feature which I hope to be a regular theme on the blog.
Crystallizing moment. It could be as simple as wearing yoga pants to Thanksgiving dinner (BLESS) or as complex as synthetic aperture radar (ask for my personal blog for an explanation of that one).
With horses, I have a lot of these. As my over-analytical mind likes to assess each and every action, lightning-rod moments occasionally strike my brain and make everything clearer. I am thankful when my excessive reflection occasionally amounts to a productive perspective, because that is not always the case.
This time though, I was riding the big guy (who, by the way, is still for sale). Riding a simple course of outside-angle-outside, I realized I was constantly agonizing about the next jump.
Not innately a bad thing, but I had been completely letting everything slip into a meh description while I desperately worried about finding a distance to a jump 25 strides away.
This realization I had – which I have been told before by countless trainers – is that jumping is flatwork. You cannot have a good course without having good flatwork, which is a saying I will tattoo on my back one day (kidding, probably would get a tasteful neon butterfly).
After realizing, huh, maybe this whole between the jumps thing is the part I need to be focusing on, I did the course again. This time, I corrected our balance, turns, consistency of pace, and watered-down my two-point.
And to the surprise of no one at all, the course was more refined and, dare I say, quite good.
My mantra the last two lessons has been ride your canter, focus on basics. By and large, the jumps have come up way better as a result of that.