|OMG CROSSRAIL SO EXCITE|
My barn buddy, who is the best at meticulously walking distances and setting fences, engineered an excellent grid to get us back in the swing of things. It consisted of a trot-in crossrail bounce followed by one stride to a vertical, one stride to a slightly bigger vertical, one stride to an oxer. I was a little bit apprehensive about jumping such a long grid with the last few fences at full BN height our first time out jumping since November, but trusted that my friend wouldn't set something that she thought would kill us.
Warm-up was a hot mess of pony temper tantrum, which was pretty much entirely my fault. In talking about it afterwards, my friend commented that I looked like I was riding "under pressure" and she was totally right. I felt pressure to hurry up and get ready to jump, and pressure to warm up more quickly than usual instead of taking the time I normally do at the walk to get Dino tuned in to my aids and thinking forward. As a result, my pony was incredibly offended and there was quite a lot of balking, tail-swishing, ear-pinning, pony-kicking, and stop-spin-back-up-ing in an effort to correct his outbursts. I was not at all happy with it, but eventually after some abrupt trot/halt transitions I got Dino into a canter and hand-galloped as fast as I could get him to around the arena. FINALLY he was thinking more forward, and we were ready to start jumping.
To warm up before tackling the grid, we jumped the first small vertical on a steep angle in a figure-8 pattern. Dino and I opted to trot the lead changes, but he was moving up to the fence really well for me, and my eye was not as rusty as I feared it would be. I was able to see and adjust appropriately for the distances I saw, even at the angle we were taking the jump, so I was pretty pleased with that!
After I felt that we had done the single fence well off both leads, we started with the grid - beginning with just the crossrail bounce and one stride to the first vertical.
Dino was awesome - he ate up the fences and was clearly VERY happy to be jumping again! I found myself feeling a little weak in my lower leg, and stingy with my release, but overall very confident about the whole thing.
After a few successful runs through the first portion of the grid, we put up the second vertical, and then the oxer, and Dino was fabulous! While my position and stability were nothing to write home about, he was jumping absolutely marvelously. Things got even better when I remembered to ride a more forward trot into the grid so that he wouldn't feel the need to launch into the bounce, resulting in me getting left behind and rushing a bit to get through the first one stride. Our last run-through was just about perfect, but here is a video of our second-to-last go through the grid:
I think it was a generally successful return to jumping after a long break! My pony, obviously, remembers what he's doing, and while I am definitely not in jumping shape and need to get more 2-point into my life, STAT, it wasn't the worst thing that's ever happened. My equitation is a little sad right now, but my eye is good, and Dino is very much game! I am frustrated about how poorly I rode during our warm- up, but know now that I just need to stick with what works and take my time no matter what anyone else is doing, or what imaginary pressure I feel in my own head.
It feels good to be flying again!