I knew that this would be a tough lesson (are any LAZ lessons NOT tough?). I hadn't been doing a ton of jumping particularly because I've been taking it easy, I have not had the money or time, and I've been worried that Annie was lame and/or grumpy. All these things combined with Annie getting very sucked back and I knew I was in store for Bootcamp. Which was exactly why it was high time for a lesson!
I thought that Annie was plenty forward but LAZ did not so I had to work on really driving her forward and making her toes flick. We worked really hard on being straight and the correct bend, especially to the right. I had to hold my right rein short and anchor my hand on the mane to prevent her from popping her shoulder out, this is a bit of an emergency trick as it's like being your own siderein but it really works fantastic for a horse that just insists on bulging its shoulder and ignoring your leg. It forces the horse to keep its shoulder in line and lets you be in more control. One of the best riding secrets I've learned hands down. It really makes the horses angry at first because they avoid going where you want them to by escaping through their shoulders. Horses steer themselves from the shoulders and neck almost more then by their heads and controlling those things means controlling where they go.
Our lack of forward came into play when we started jumping as well, if I couldn't get Annie forward into the lines then we ate the distance, and if I couldn't swap leads through the trot and get her cantering again we also ate the distance and floundered over the fences.
We were working on sort of a figure 8 exercise. Come up centerline, jump a 3 stride down the center, go right, jump the centerline then bend left over a fence on the diagonal, go left then jump down the centerline and turn to jump a fence to the right. It will make much more sense when you see the video!
It got worse as she started to get tired and grumpy and she started "talking back" hard to me by doing her usual kicks and angry faces, I had a hard time reacting right because well, ummmm, I was worried about getting flung off! So when she ignored me I wasn't right there with a correction and that gave her an edge.
One thing that gave me an edge was "sending her forward into contact" to ask for the canter and do it with the intention of sending her into the bridle at the canter. When I could do this we had much better transitions.
We took a long break while LAZ went to take care of something (and I secretly hoped she wouldn't come back) and then she came back for another round of jumping. I'm not sure if the person after me ran late so I got extra time, or if the break was deliberate because LAZ knew what would happen.
What happened was Annie thought she was done and had a hissy fit. We floundered over our first fences, we kicked down the long side, we nailed a fence in the pony legs, and finally we got forward enough and had a good ride.
To sum it all up I learned that I really CAN stay on when she performs her grumpy kicks and I am not being nearly firm enough with sending her forward when she says "no" it was a fantastic lesson and we were both dripping wet after.