Just have to share that Possum and I had one of the most amazing weekends in terms of schooling that I think we have ever had. Let me start from the beginning. Last week my roomate and I have been taking videos of some of your rides, just lines and approaches and stuff. One of the biggest things that stuck out at me was how busy I was about 4 strides from the jump or line. We would have a nice even canter going in and then all of a sudden I would micro manage everything, tweak things that didn't need to be messed with. I would use pulsing half halts with my reins, and sitting back. It's one thing to ride it with a million things on your mind, but it's another to be able to see it and critiqu and put everything into slow motion. SO I made the decision that I need to do LESS. Yup, you heard it right folks, I'm doing too much! I need to maintain that steady rhythmn and ride it to the base of the jumps. From looking at it ont he video, Possum has such a nice and rhythmical canter, almost rocking horse like, so why inthe hell am I trying to make it more than what it is???
So my next ride schooling I tried to simply do nothing, I know it sounds so weird to even say it, never mind do it. But it worked like magic. My horse didn't get keyed up cause I was fixing so much and we had nice smooth collected and perfect approach to jumps. It was like the lightbulb turned on in my head. Sometimes instead of always thinking I need to do more, I really need to do less. I need to rely on my horses training and ability and not think I need to do everything for him, not micro manage! His canter was easy and manageable, I could shorten and lengthen without any drastic measures, he was less hyper and took my relaxation as a cue for him to relax as well.
So yesterday the roomate and I decided to do some schooling in the indoor. Possum right from the start was soft and supple and relaxed, he felt like butter in my hands. There was no leaning on my hands, no gaping of the mouth, which is very typical of him at any kinds of annoyance, physical or mental. I actually even got compliments from people stopping to watch for a few minutes. I might also add that my roomates horse was incredibly well behaved that day as well and both equines seemed totally in tune with us riders. First we did the usual flat warm-up. Possum and I also briefly worked on some flying changes, but he was great and I didn't want him to get bored. Then we trotted some small fences and turned them into roll backs at the trot. Then we progressed to the canter and so on. By the time we were nearing the end of our ride we had worked up to full courses with some funky striding to really keep us on our toes. He was WONDERFUL and I have videos to prove it. Nothing was really over 2'6" except for a middle diagonal jump, but he was soft, had great rhythmn, was responsive and listening and the whole thing looked like a round of figure skating; graceful, smooth and easy, just like a hunter or eq round should look. I decided not to press him anymore and ended the ride with that. I wanted him to know that he did great and that just drilling him more would sour him to the whole process. I have to admit that I had a smile on my face the rest of the day and woke up with one this morning despite the heavy rains we're getting currently. I will post videos when I can figure out how haha, but until then your stuck with some goofy pics from the other day. We were taking turns riding the course so we were hanging out int he middle of the arena just fooling around. The one of Possum's ears is because he kept putting his ears back everytime we wanted a picture so I mad him put his ears forward lol. He's so good to put with with my nonsense.