It was a beautiful day here in North Carolina. In a state known for HOT and HUMID summers, high temperatures in the 70s-80s in August is unheard of. And what do horse people instantly think of when they hear clear skies, low humidity, with highs around 79? A perfect day to ride of course!
The beautiful weather must have rubbed off on me and Rudy. We had a very productive lesson this morning. It began with simple flatwork that consisted of lengthening and shortening followed by figure eights at both the trot and the canter, focusing on maintaining control of his right shoulder and using my outside aids to turn. We warmed up over the blue gate across the diagonal, cantering it both directions. During my warm-up jumps the emphasis was put on continuing through the corner and then stretching away with my body at the base of the fence.
After that we moved on to the triple combination on the outside. It was set up one-stride to one-stride, similar to at the previous horse show. After going through the combination once or twice my trainer called out to me “Think about the TIMING of your release!”. Light bulb! I have constantly been thinking about lowering my hand through my release. However, that is not helpful if I continue to be just 1 second off on my timing. After going through the combination and receiving a “Much better!”, me and my trainer discussed. I told her how concentrating on the timing of my release makes so much more sense. Reflecting on pictures of myself jumping, I always appear to have a too high release in the pictures that are taken at the ideal time. However, my release is soft and on the crest in the pictures that are just 1 second too late and Rudy is beginning to unfold his leg. I must be releasing once my horse is actually in-flight as opposed to when he is beginning to bring his front legs off the ground.
Timing is important in all aspects of riding. Very often it is not a stronger aid that is needed, but a more accurate and earlier use of the aid. Too often have a heard “you were late to realize you needed to balance” or “you were late to use your leg out of turn”…you get the point. I try to be as accurate and apply my aids as soon as I feel I need to. But so often in riding, and with horses in general, the softening of aids is needed before the horse gives. That’s the hard part.
Now time for some post-ride Rudy shots!…