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Miles Hack Sept 2013

On the Right Track

I moved my lessons around a bit the next two weeks to accommodate some other appointments. Blasphemy, you say? A life out side of horses?! I know, it’s crazy talk. But it worked out well, and I’m actually taking my first two private lessons on Mr. Miles, the first of which was last night.

I had a lot I wanted to discuss and work on, so we started out on the flat. We did some trot work, focusing on bending and giving in to contact. I’ve been working a lot on these two subjects with Miles since I bought him, but I wanted to make sure we were on the right track. We also worked on adjusting the canter by lengthening and then galloping down the long side, and collecting back for a large circle at either end of the arena.

  • So far, the bending is coming along fabulously; we just need to keep at it.
  • The concept of giving is also going well; but we need to be more consistent at the trot before introducing the topic at the canter.
  • Circles are my friend, especially at the walk and trot!
  • I need to practice adjusting within my gaits, especially at the canter. Miles and I need to figure out how much rein vs how much leg is needed.
After that we moved on to jumping a small line: trotting into a crossrail and cantering out over a small vertical in five strides. We did this exercise both directions, focusing on feeling the length and/or power of Miles’ stride and making a decision early enough to create change. Okay, so that sentence sounds really easy, but this is a more accurate description of how it really goes:
Trot around the corner. Me: Miles, keep going!
Approach the crossrail. Miles: But it’s sooo hard. I’d rather trot the crossrail and keep trotting. Cantering is too hard.
[Call mulligan and start over.]
Trot around the corner. Me: Gooooooooooooooo!
Approach the crossrail. Miles: I’m going! Wahooo!! Lookit me, I was all Grand Prix Jumper over that crossrail!
Canter through the line. Me: Where are we? Do I have enough? I think I have enough to get five.
Two strides to the vertical. Me: OH SHIT. TOO MUCH. Half halt Miles!
At the vertical. Me: Just kidding! Leave now — no way we are going to get five!!
Miles: *Le sigh*
Miles sticking his tongue out
What Miles thinks of my haphazard riding

If I approach a jump and don’t start looking for a distance until I’m at five strides out, I won’t see one until I’m three strides out. But if I start looking for a distance while I’m still in the corner, I will begin to see it five or six strides because I’m looking actively looking for a distance sooner.After a few times through the line, which did get better for the most part, we moved on to a single vertical. Here, I worked on seeing a distance farther out. Usually, I see a distance two to three strides out; trainer would like me to see a distance at four or five strides out. To begin to work on this, she said I need to start looking for a distance farther back:

That’s how she described it. And it makes sense; I mean, I can’t find what I’m not looking for, right? To the right it was tough, and I didn’t see much improvement. But to the left, I nailed the vertical twice in a row on a perfect distance! The second time we went right around to the line and cantered down in a perfect four. And it felt amazing. It just all flowed together, and felt so natural. I love this horse!