Puzzle has had a few more lessons with Sarah Healy working on the jumping and dressage. After warming up Sarah had me on a 10m circle around a fence to then come across the angle to a upright which every time I came to it she then put up and up finishing at 1.25m! I couldn't believe how big she could jump from such a tight circle but it got her on the hocks enabling her to jump much bigger. When we lowered them to 1.15m she flew round so confidently not touching a thing! I learnt that day speed is not the way to get over a big fence! All you need is a collected medium canter and you can jump anything! Maybe that's where I was going wrong in the past??!
We took Candy to the Belvoir ODE held at Oasby, it was such a lovely day at 20 degrees! The ground was really baked which was the down side and didn't suit Candy great so we decided to take her studs out, this did help but we had already done the dressage! It wasn't one of her best tests, but in places it was nice and she managed to pull a 31.1. I was in two minds whether to run her the other phases but mother convinced me! She did a nice clear show jump round just got close to a few but I think that was due to the ground. We then went on to the cross country which suited Candy well as it was fairly flat. There was a few questions, fence 3 was a big step down and one stride to another big step up which was apparently in the Novice BE track. The water fence had a fairly big drop into it followed by a jump out, which BE90 tracks never have in you only ever have to trot in and jump out. Candy was a bit hesitant at it as you can see in the video but with a bit of encouragement from me she just dropped off it really nicely. She did a really nice round again just getting close to a few and it was nice not to have a optimum time with the ground being so hard I just cantered her round with no pressure. Candy finished on her score of 31.1 and came 2nd! Nice one Candy!
I have decided to try and go at least once a week down to Sarah's to start aiming for 1 star level, so I need to be comfortable with jumping 1.20m really. I looked into the 1 star's a little more and found that I need to join Puzzle and I with FEI registrations which cost £15 for the rider and £15 for the horse. Apparently this is so you get a world ranking! (scary!) I also found out I need to buy a bridle number as you aren't supposed to wear bibs, I don't need top hat or tails for CIC but will do for CCI so best get saving! Now you need to have 6 Novice runs with no more than 16 faults SJ I think it is. Which Puz will have after one more run hopefully. Will do some more research and let you know what I find out as it seems to be a question that pops up on British Eventing Forum with lots of confusion!
Any way back to the lesson.. Sarah put a one stride double up in the middle of her school and I had to jump the first and second parts both ways but on both angles. Didn't sound too difficult to me either until she took away ground poles and put them both up to 1.10m! At first I was holding for too long which meant Puzzle had to work extra hard to get us both over the fence. Sarah said she new this would happen as taking away a ground pole changes how you see a stride, so she told me the next time to ride a positive medium canter set her line up straight and then softened 3 strides out and I met it perfect every time! (this surprised me!)
After I had mastered the above, we went down the double straight. Again at first I felt I didn't ride forward enough over the first part and was left short for the second. I had to really push on in between to make up the stride. I then started to trust the longer stride and met it well. Overall was a brill lesson, and it taught me to ride the stride instead of always having to see the stride and place her all the time, so without the placing pole did me lots of good! See slideshow below.
Puzzle and I went to our local trainer Sarah Healy for a show jumping lesson. We wanted to focus on courses at full up Novice Height 1.10/1.15m, as well as triple's entering with an oxer, one stride to an upright followed by a two stride oxer to finish. These seem to be my boogey fence and the minute as I tend to hold back and then not make the stride to the next fence.
The lesson went really well and Puzzle flew round the fences. The main thing I learnt was to quicken my reactions up as now the fences are getting bigger I need to react twice at fast, concentrating more on my approach to the fences and then giving myself enough time to soften before the fence.
Then the triple went in! My first attempt was rubbish! I tensed up and my line was shocking, Puzzle helped me out of the mess thank god and we did get to the other side in one piece! The 2nd attempt never happened I ended up turning her away a few strides before the fence because she wasn't soft and I couldn't see a stride. By our 3rd attempt I was determined to nail it. I kicked her up into a powerful canter saw my stride and took it. She jumped it fab and we hit every fence perfect. I did it again just to prove it wasn't a fluke and again we did it spot on... I think I was overcoming the problem at last! Still need to keep practicing those ready for my events as all the Novice classes seem to have a triple.
Today I took Boy to my local trainer Sarah Healy who is a professional 3* event rider. We concentrated on getting him moving forward off the leg as sometimes he can be lazy! He worked fantastically (see pics), so we decided to move onto showjump training. First we practiced getting a forward energetic canter over cavaletti's which really helped to keep a consistent rhythm. Then moved onto a small course incorporating the cavaletti's in between the fences to re-balance the canter. Boy jumped so much better and cleared the fences by using this exercise.
Off to Somerford tomorrow with Puzzle to do the Pre-Season SJ which will be built to height and under BE rules. Classses start from BE80 and go upto Intermediate height.