After a nice long break with lunch and a business meeting, it was time to tack up again.
All went smoothly. We began warming up over trot poles, which went fine after the first trip through in which Pandora tripped over every single one ;-)
We built up slowly, just doing small courses of ground rails, then small x-rails. The clinician used the best phrase I've ever heard to get me to fix my problem: "It's like the Wonder Bra - you lift and separate!"
Which is PERFECT for my problem. I tend to hunch forward; if I remember to bring my shoulders up and back, I duck forward with my whole body. If I remember to sit up, I round my back and hunch my shoulders. When I remember this visual, it does both, and it really helped me fix my position. With this and consistently remembering my elbows (just visualizing the crop behind my back does the trick!), I felt a big improvement in my ability to stay out of Pandora's way.
At the end, she just started moving the fences up. They don't look big in the video (they're awfully tall standards) but our last fence measured at around 2'9". Which isn't big, but - considering I'd been treating her as a green horse and never jumped higher than an X - was quite fun. Obviously the clinician was able to see something in her, because she just casually started bringing the fences up and told me to canter in and just jump them.
I had a BLAST.
Here's the short video. Excuse the total lack of sound - it was the easiest option.
I was positively giddy. Which is silly - I knew she could jump. Her previous owner (not the one I bought her from) was jumping her at Novice height before the meltdown. I guess I just didn't think that she'd feel athletic. Over that last fence, she really rounded her back, sucked her knees up high, and gave me a real jump. Her ears perked up, her stride opened up, and I could just feel her going "FINALLY, we jump something real!"
In light of this, I think I am shifting my plans with her to cover a longer period of time. I am starting to believe that she's more suitable for me than I originally thought. My mom suggests that I plan to keep her for at least a year, and I think that's reasonable. We're improving fast now that I'm taking her to all of the Pony Club lessons and clinics - and competition season is starting up, so I'll hopefully be going to the Show Jumping Rally, the Dressage Rally, and the Eventing Rally. There's also an Eventing Camp the week before the Inavale HT, which would be awesome. By the time we hit July, Pandora and I will have put in a lot of miles together!
I'm not relaxing my training schedule, though. I know that if I'm not paying attention, June will pop up before I even realize it, and I'll be unprepared for the Horse Trials. But, I am relaxing a little and taking a view of her more as My Horse.
I know most of you probably thought this would happen anyway! I think I was so caught on the idea of her being a project horse that I just didn't stop and think about the possibility of her being a great horse for me, you know? So we'll see where things take us. Nothing is set in stone, but after that clinic, I'm excited to see where we end up.
PS: I learned so much at the ABC retreat this weekend. I will write up a full report ASAP, or by the end of the week, whichever ends up fitting into my schedule better ;)
Diagnosis: My Give A Damn Is Broken
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