Caesar and I did our first 2'6" stadium course at a little local show on Saturday. While I can't say that it was a complete success or that I left unscathed, I can say that all is well that ends well. And the show ended well enough for us, it was the middle that was a bit hairy. (I am posting videos not because I feel like they are evidence of my best riding; however embarrassing they might be, I include them to keep myself humble. I am only going to get better if I face the facts and sometimes facing them out loud helps :)
Caesar was anything but his forward, eager-to-leap self on Saturday; he was drowsy and disinterested, and I felt like I was riding a hunter horse in our 2'3" class. Other than the lack of impulsion (and my aversion to put my leg on and ask for more go), the class was fine. That same lack of go prevailed in our 2'6" class, and at fence three Caesar stopped, and I toppled off. Yep. Right onto the rails. It was actually a pretty casual tumble as you will see below. I hopped back up and proceeded to put up the rails I knocked down, all three of them! Then I asked, loudly, "Can I go again?" Ha! I remember thinking, well, that wasn't so bad. Eesh.
Make sure you watch the entire clip, even after Mike drops the camera; it's pretty funny! I give you permission to laugh :)
I was indeed able to give the course a second try, and it went much more smoothly. Caesar was still a little stuck, but I put my leg on better and thought "jump it!" rather than "are you going to jump it?" Of course the stop at the end makes it clear that I wasn't riding my entire course with assertiveness. I think my mind was already out of the ring. BOO, Shane, BOO!
I've analyzed it and talked with Becky, Cherie, and my trainer, and the consensus is that I wasn't riding assertively; I didn't put my leg on and when Caesar acted sluggish, I didn't use a crack of my whip to remind him to go forward. Bad Shane. This is nothing new; I chided myself for this same lack of assertiveness back in June. This time I think I was more aware of his sluggishness and even of what I needed to do, but I just didn't make a definite decision to take control. I was worried about why he wasn't forward instead of asking him to go forward; I came to the big realization that I worry about the distances in between the fences and leave Caesar to handle the actual fences. It's almost like I stop thinking before the jump! Perhaps I somehow associate thinking about the jump with worrying about it?
For a bit of redemption, I jumped Caesar on Sunday at home. I first got him connected and listening to my aides (thank you, Cherie!) and then I went over a small vertical before proceeding to a short course. When I caught myself zoning out or mentally asking Caesar if he would jump, I thought, and said, JUMP! Oh, and I put my leg on! My how that worked!
The good news is that it was an educational fall and that the fact that I was jumping 2'6" actually never caused me much worry. The challenge now is not to just keep working hard but to work definitively. Ride like I mean it!
This post is already too long (as I promised my blogger self that I would post less...maybe I should write in code?), but I must report on my haircut! I got a whopping 10 inches of my hair lopped off! I was very anxious as I have always been a long-hair gal, but I am really liking it. So much easier!
6 hours ago