Hi everyone! I haven't seen you guys in a while because I've been busy riding! We finally started to show again, and I wanted to share a video. Please tell me what you think. I'm still not in great shape and my boy is a little hot but I was very proud of him. This is 2'9" hunters and he is a jumper, so that's why he isn't really trying to pick his knees up. He really is a cute jumper.
The only thing that jumps out at me as a minor detail would be that when you came down the diagonal single, you should have waited until further into the corner before asking for the lead change. (Or opened up my inside rein slightly and put outside leg on before the fence to get the lead over the fence).
I never thought I would see the day where someone manages to do a CLEAN flying change in the hunter ring!!!!!! I was starting to think there was a rule against that!!! The rest of your changes were not set up nearly as nicely - however there is potential. You are getting a lot of your lead changes over fences which I love to see - a course of jumps doesn't usually require that a horse actually needs flying changes - as long as they get all their leads off of fences.
The reason we need clean changes and not auto lead swaps in the hunter ring is because every flying change is a transition into the new canter lead. If you are to do a bad transition (lead change) - you get a bad canter! And then you take that bad canter to a fence, etc.. etc...
He got hotter through the first course and into the second. In the first course on the last line I would have loved for you to sit down, regulate the canter and really ride that last fence into a right lead - or at least a nice clean change.
In the beginning of the second course you needed shorter reins and to sit back and ride. You let him really back you off! Just because it's the hunter ring doesn't mean the fence set up changes - you must still ride. Once you set up the first fence from a really nice, uphill canter he will stay better with you. Once you let him start barging over fences it is really hard to get him back while riding the course. In the start I would have cantered and done a nice big circle to really get a great canter and then gone to the first fence.
Otherwise - your horse is fit and well muscled and you are riding really well. Congrats on the Championship! Good luck :)
I noticed two small distractions in otherwise solid performances.
First, you start out with you hands a little bit low, breaking the straight line from bit to mouth slightly downward. I only see it in your hunter circles, during your course your hand and arm come up to the appropriate level.
Second, your first trip had inconsistent pace/inconsistent spots. (Second go was much better.) Your pace was tentative to the first fence and got you to a weak spot; throught the rest of the course you tended to jump into the lines a little weak and then move up to the second fence. Again, second trip was better, but with an able horse and rider combo, I like to see a marching pace and *nailing* the first distance. Lots of riders start weak and pick up pace as the course goes on, nailing the first distance and holding a consistent, forward, rhythym all the through is a simple way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack.
I know this was a hunter class, but I do want to comment that your position in the air was lovely, with no jumping ahead or laying on the neck - rock solid, in the middle of the tack, with an appropriate fold to your hip.
The main thing I would work on is rhythm, keeping a more metronome pace throughout the course. There were some changes, often closer to the jumps than I like to see. If you need to make a change in stride length, try to make it early. Once you get about 3 strides from the fence you should be pretty locked into your take off spot. Think about how you take the first fence in the line. If you are deep, plan to ride a bit more aggressively down the line. A big spot, half halt a stride or two off the fence to back your horse off. Overall a nice ride though. I was just excited to see someone actually use the entire arena and get some bend through their horse.
Thanks guys! I agree, Maura, our first jumps could be stronger. I was suffering from a bad (and rare) case of the nervous jitters and sadly felt the need to take conservative distances. Generally Ocala is very consistent, though also strong. Do you think he will be better in the jumper arena? What can we work on in your opinions for that?
Anabel, thank you for commenting on his lead changes. I put them on him myself and am very proud of them. They aren't hunter changes, per se, but at the time I was a dressage rider. I was trying not to make big moves with my body on the course because it was hunters, but in all honesty I don't know if I could if I was showing jumpers. I am very weak right now, out of shape and all.