Me. I'll bet you thought I was going to say a 5th grader - I really hate that show! I also hate those bumper stickers that declare some dog is smarter than an honor student. Although, the sad thing is most dogs probably are smarter than an honor student.
So I had a lesson with Janna today and we did a little bit on the flat and some jumping - yay! With the flatwork, the focus was once again flexing in and out and on me keeping my upper body back to help him balance. I have to say the upper body thing is even more frustrating than the hands thing! I need to record a voice saying stay back and put it on my iPod so I can have it on constant repeat while riding. Moving on, Charlie was quite good and focusing on a little bit of leg yielding was really helpful. Janna told me to be proactive with the leg yielding to keep him steady in the bridle at all times. He's really good and I get complacent and he in turn gets a little fussy. I think its really more inside leg to outside rein but the mental image of leg yielding is very helpful.
We started the jumping portion with the clock exercise - poles were placed on the ground at 12, 3,6, and 9 on about a 20-25 meter circle. To begin with, I hate poles on the ground! I just don't get it so I guess it's a good thing Charlie does. We started out trotting them and then added a circle over the 12 and 6 rail in the opposite direction. This was really helpful for me because it gave me something else to focus on besides the rail. This is where the smarter than me part comes in. We started cantering and it took him a couple of times with me screwing up the rhythm but he got it in spite of me. Janna then put 2 of the rails in the cups and we did it this way a few time and finally she put all of the rails in the cups and he was a rockstar! He set himself up for the jumps and got a steady 6 strides between each fence with ZERO help from me. I kind of think he almost didn't even need me to steer. After Charlie mastered the clock exercise (because I'm not sure I did!), we incorporated it into some mini courses.
The first course was clock exercise (which was at one end of the ring), come out of the clock exercise down the long side to a plain white vertical to a swedish oxer with lots and lots of flowers under it. The clock exercise went fine (because my pony is super smart!) down the long side to the vertical which he took a good hard look at (what?!?! it was just a plain white vertical - what the heck was he looking at?) around the corner to the swedish oxer with lots and lots of flowers which he jumped beautifully, didn't even bat an eyelash. Funny horse. I have a feeling I took the vertical for granted and wasn't about to make the same mistake with the oxer. The second course started out the same but after the oxer, we did the clock exercise again then came down the opposite long side and jumped a vertical with a brick wall under it. He peeked at the vertical AGAIN! and was great to the oxer, was good at the clock (although I'm pretty sure I wasn't) and took a hard peek at the wall but jumped it. Again, I just took it for granted that he was going to jump - definitely need to ride a little more on the offensive and stop being such a passenger. We did the wall again and he peeked again but because I kept my leg on, he pretty much maintained rhythm. Janna said it's ok to look but he needs to keep the same rhythm and he''s not allowed to drop onto his forehand while looking. That's a really good mental image for me to think about because it makes total sense to me. Now for your viewing pleasure, our last course courtesy of Mom (she took it on her phone and didn't realize she should have flipped the phone on it's side so that's why the picture is vertical instead of horizontal). And because I'm still an idiot and can't follow SprinklerBandit's directions that she so kindly left me, here's the link - Charlie - Jumping lesson with Janna
I'm not sure about you all but I have a really hard time remembering to do everything at the same time - sort of like trying to chew gum and walking at the same time. Like I said earlier, good thing my pony is a smart one. I think he's a keeper!