After our canter sets we jumped a fallen tree in the field and a big dip/ditch thing. She bounded over the ditchy thing with reckless abandon and leaving me with my feet pushed forward on her shoulders like a roughstock rider. She is still trying to figure out her feet. I really need to remember to SLOOOOOW her down so she can think about what she's doing. She's like me when eating dessert, "Megan, how did that taste? Do you know what you just ate? Exactly how many seconds did it take for you to hoover that up?"
My neighbors who own a large farm on my road stopped me yesterday to ask if I really had been shot at. I said yes and they both told me, in their own words, that guy is an idot and that I should press charges. Yup, I said back, he's an idot. They offered their land to me to ride on, again, and it made me feel a little bit more hopefull about the human race....
I haven't blogged yet about my XC day on Saturday. I don't even know where to start...
River: Was a total bugger. Hub led him out with Mia and he was prancing around snorting VERY loudly with his tail straight up in the air. It was like, "Hello! River Wood Dancer has arrived! Please clear the area!" While warming up he tried to take off with me, bucked, farted and threw his head after every little 2' jump. In short, he was excited. Amy told me to keep my hands on his neck and push him forward through his naughty outbursts. I quickly took the neck strap off Mia and put it on him. It was awkward to use because I haven't used one with regularity in the past, but I will get used to it. He only stopped once because I got soft with my leg. He was fussing on the approach and after I got him settled a few strides out I coasted instead of riding him up to the fence with my leg on. Man, when will I learn? I think the nerves make me forget the simplest things.
He was a little sticky going into the water, but no real problem. He jumped up and down the bank in and out of the water. He jumped the ditch without hesitation (has never had an issue with ditches, thank goodness). Overall, he was very brave but needs to be more submissive. I tried to ride him in a ROUND frame so that I had more control and that seemed to help him remember that he had a passenger....I'll have to remember to keep riding him that way in the future.
Mia: Was a total ROCKSTAR!!! She wasn't without an occasional buck and she did try and fly around on two wheels like a remote control car, but she listens. She listens and responds (take note, Elivs, I mean, River). She bounded though the water and over coops and logs and ditches without a second thought. No hesitation. No sucking back. Only full -force-100% Mia. Love it.
Flo: Oh, where do I begin? To sum it up, she was acting like "old" Flo. She was running scared and was very "up" and distracted. I tried to slow her down and keep her round to settle her, but it took a long time for her to finally settle down. She stopped at one of the brick roll tops and I flipped over her left shoulder and landed on my feet. Whoops. It was a wake up call. I think I tend to let her get away with things because she's Flo, my main ride, my secret favorite. Amy keeps telling me that when she takes the long spot it chips away at her confidence and the next fence ends up being the problem. That's what happened in this situation.
I had a lesson over the weekend. It was pretty awesome and I'm hoping it will be a turning point for us. The main thing that I took away was that not every jump has to be "perfect." I expect it to be what Amy call the "swish, no net" feel and when it isn't I overeact which results in a TERRIBLE jump. She reasured me that I can make a basket, but it might hit the rim or the backboard most the time. She had me focus on waiting until all 4 feet were off the ground and staying calm and soft with my upper body (while keeping my leg on to support) NO MATTER WHAT. Flo didn't always get the right step to the placing pole but when I did my job, the jump was still good. So, RELAX, Megan. Nothing is ever perfect and it's OK!!!!
I also warmed up by flexing and counter flexing, but this time with a wiggly body. I tried to move my shoulders when asking for the flexion. Man, Flo relaxed and really went forward when I did this.
Also, I told Amy about jumping Flo a few days before my lesson and realizing when I kept my eye softer and didn't micro-manage the distance, she jumped great. Amy shared a story about Ralph Hill telling her to look at the number to a big table (fence 2, yikes) about 8 strides out and then slowly looking at the jump about 4 strides out so that she wouldn't freak out and over ride it. Good advice for me right now as I seem to be over riding, over analyzing, over everthing because I lack confidence.