STIRRUPS AWAY AND A BOUNCY CANTER! - Richard confidently completes his first combination of jumps

Rich and_gate_with_tommyAfter passing a personal mile stone and jumping a single 1.20m jump last week(click here), Richard wants to go to the next level and tackle jumping an entire course; he books a lesson with Katy Thomas, a BHS EQL level 2 coach, a show jumper, livery yard owner and studying for her BHS instructor's qualifications.
 
The lesson starts with Katy taking away Richard's stirrups.

Warming up in walk and trot with out stirrups is important for several reasons; it improves balance, it gets the rider to sit deeper and it helps the rider move with the horse.

We join Richard as he takes his stirrups back.... 
  
Katy had built a course with two doubles on the long sides and a jump on each long diagonal. All the rich jumping_front_anglejumps had bright painted poles and fillers and one had two small windmills which were taking full advantage of the windy weather.
 
I am asked to bring Tommy in to canter and put him on a 20m circle. Tommy breaks in to canter with enthusiasm and we have a short moment of fun bombing round the school before I pay attention to Katy encouraging me to collect Tommy's canter. “You need to get the feeling that Tommy is a ball of energy bouncing in front of you.”
 
It takes a while to play with his canter until I feel I have hit this point and thankfully Katy confirms this by shouting "this is the canter I need". It does feel different, there is more height in each canter stride - more bounce. Katy sets a cross pole and asks us to jump it using my new bouncy canter. We come round the end of the school ok, but then Tommy locks on to the jump and I let him get away from me, resulting in us taking a huge leap. This is not correct, and I knew it even before we are asked to try again.
 Rich a_double_jump
“It is important that you keep the same bouncy canter all the way to the jump.” Katy explains, and soon we have it, keeping that ball of energy all the way to the jump enabling Tommy to get closer and to then form a rounder shape over the jump and to really use his hind quarters to power up and over. Once we were jumping a single jump well we moved on to jump a combination of jumps.
  
To begin with we are asked to put in a circle before the jumps to enable us to regain the nice bouncy canter, and then trying to ride directly between the jumps once we have that feel and bounce. It doesn't always go right but I feel we are improving. There is something else very good happening, Tommy is ignoring the fillers and windmills, which is great as he hasn't seen them before. Katy points out that Tommy likes going fast, so, it is good to let him open his canter out before collecting him up, that way he has a bit of fun and we get to build up useful energy to then direct in to the bouncy jumping canter.
 
Rich leaping
By the end of the lesson I know we have improved - for a start the jumps were up to 1.05m, but there is still lots to work on before I can confidently say we will be jumping a good round. Tommy is working so hard and improving all the time and I am sure it won't be long before we can go to a competition and enjoy it.

www.mountainhorse.co.uk are pleased to supply Richard with his riding clothing and footwear 
www.championhats.co.uk   are please to supply Richard with his riding protection  

 
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