Did you ever seen the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back with Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg? It’s honestly not that good, but it’s all about striking the right balance in your life and the pursuit of happiness. While these are things I think each of us struggles with and strives for everyday, in my equestrian life this has recently been a big theme. And (luckily for my marriage) instead of meeting a hot guy during a beach vacation, I got my groove back from a really good jumping lesson this week.
We started with a simple crossrail to warm up, and I focused on keeping my eye up, leg on, and riding the landing. The first few times I really had to work hard on finding a good focal point and riding to it, plus GALLOPING into the corner. It’s important to establish a rhythm and the ‘rules’ early on, for both Miles and myself; “this is how we ride and jump and this is what we have to do,” so to speak. After discussing the path after one jump in particular (don’t fall in!), we moved on to coursework.
Our first course the jumps stayed small — I would say around 2′ with maybe a 2’3″ vertical somewhere. However, considering just a month ago I was struggling to trot crossrails with Miles, we’ve improved my leaps and bounds. I’ll admit I was a little nervous, which translated into a short distance to the first fence and big chip to the second. But we circled, recovered, and went to the four stride line. Again, I got a little tight to the in of the line, but I added leg and we galloped out in an easy four strides. Go team!
That really boosted my confidence. Even though I made mistakes, I still made decisions, plus Miles listened and helped when I needed it. He didn’t punish me when I got unbalanced after the second fence, and most importantly we both recovered and I pushed forward to get the strides. Longtime readers will remember that I’ve struggled with striding between fences, since, well… forever. So getting the correct number of strides was really awesome.
Our second course started out with a 2’3″ oxer. I was nervous, and I asked Trainer to lower it… but she said no. So I put on my game face and went for it — and it went perfectly. I found a great distance, kept my leg on, eyes up and rode the landing. We even got our lead change afterwards! Then it was on to the four stride line, where I actually had to half halt a little bit (!!). I again got a little bit short to fence four (astroturf box) and fence five, so I came around and did them again right away. This time I found a much better spot to the astroturf and a longer spot to the blue and white vertical but because I had more confidence, I just added leg and went for it. We sailed right over, got the lead change and Miles got tons of pats for being so good.
And THAT’s how Tracy finally got her groove back.