lesson log

Elliot and me, photo courtesy Barbare Hall

I encourage my students to write down their thoughts in a journal after a lesson.  This helps them remember what they learned and can be a nice resource to review when a roadblock pops up.  It can also be a good record of the progress of a rider and horse.  They can look back in the log and learn that they may have problems, but at least they are different problems.

Which brings up the mantra for any serious student of riding:.  “We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.”

So even that is something.  🙂

Today I drove to Elkhorn, NE and trained with USHJA showjumping Hall of Famer Ex-MFH Jim Urban, who also, importantly, makes a hellova good bloody mary and cuts a dashing figure in hunt ball scarlets.  At any rate, it was a 3 hour drive over, riding two horses for 2.5 hours total, cooling out, visiting with a friend at her farm, where I rode 2 more horses, then a 3 hour drive home, and I be a wee bit tired.  So the highlights of the day in bullet points:

*  All this time I’ve always been concerned with how long it takes the horse to warm up.  Today I learned that it takes ME about 40 minutes before I am useful in the tack.

*  Inside flexion, diagonal half halt, give.  Follow elastically when not doing that.

*  Straightness during and after the jump is as important as straightness before the fence.

*  Elliot can jump a small house from 2″ in front of it.

*  Elliot can make a 2′ jump feel like a house if his rider lets him canter down to it crooked and on his forehand.

*  The canter where he moves his feet and raises his withers is my new life.

Eddie and I have a picnic. I don't know why the other guests grabbed their beverages and ran...

*  Eddie will twist left over any jump if allowed to his own devices.

*  Eddie’s devices are best put back into his toybox rather than letting him play with them.  Quote of the day: “Bambi on ice.”

*  I sometimes take  my leg OFF at a fence.  Who knew?  Gah.

*  When I use my right leg to keep his ribcage left in the air, he is perfectly capable of staying straight and landing on the right lead.

*  When a horse is tracking straight and in the correct canter, 3’6″ looks and rides like 2’6″.

And that’s what I was reminded of today.  Eddie and Elliot are all settled in their beds and resting.  Seems like a good idea. ‘Night.

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