Last Sunday I had another lesson with LAZ, once again we were with friends with green horses (wait a minute, I'm not on the green horse anymore?) so as soon as everyone warmed up I went out to gallop some XC fences.
Well, not gallop but we sure did canter everything. Even if I had to carefully monitor my breathing to make sure I was still doing it.
We cantered our first warm up fence and then proceeded to canter over everything out on the XC course without trotting anything first. ACK!!!
A big BIG step for me. After we had jumped all the starter size fences LAZ had us jumping some BN fences which I immediately stopped riding over causing Annie to go around.
Annie's not a dirty horse, and I think she's pretty honest, but she doesn't do things like lock onto fences without input and guidance from me and if my heart's not into it she's ok with not putting out the effort. I do this thing where I am nervous about the size of the fence and what will happen if we stop in front of it or get in bad and don't make it over and I rationalize that if that is what is going to happen I shouldn't be gung hoing it down to the base since things are worse when you are going faster so I stop riding and let the stop happen. Yet when I RODE those fences Annie wasn't concerned. She wasn't wiggly, she wasn't spooky, she didn't over jump them.
Same issue when LAZ upped my stadium fences after we took a break for the other riders to go. Those were some BIG fences (somewhere between 2' 6" and 2' 9") and I certainly didn't march confidently toward them. They were much bigger then the XC fences and while I thought I was fine cantering toward the line I decided a stride away I wasn't really that into it. I was just fine with my small fences and I totally wasn't serious about moving up a division. I made that line HARD. I had to ride over the first fence, and then march down the line over the second fence and once Annie realized I wasn't really that into it my task became harder and I had to convince myself it was possible and Annie that I really meant it. In the end the height wasn't really an issue for Annie, the motivation from me was.
This was a tough lesson, requiring me to really step up my game especially when I was pushed outside my comfort zone with the height of the fences. When I was confident and rode to the base with my eye on the fence Annie didn't have a problem, but she's not going over if she doesn't feel confidence from me. So it was not a confident building lesson before a show by being an easy lesson where we coasted over everything, but a "these are the holes in my riding and when I plug those holes I have no problems" kind of lesson. A very important lesson to learn because I obviously still have issues with not riding to the base and giving Annie a positive ride.
On another note those stadium fences were the biggest fences I think I have ever jumped. Or that Annie has ever jumped. So that is an accomplishment in itself.
I'm looking forward to the CAF HT. My goal is to make time in Stadium by cantering everything. My goal XC is to canter as much of my course as possible and not have any run outs caused by not riding. I'd like to make time but not at the cost of losing control over my fences.