I can't really do anything with poles right now. I don't have control over what the arena set up is - that's my instructor. In the summer, when I hack in the outdoor arena (or indoor if the lessons are outside) then I have a lot more freedom in what I do but for now I'm kinda stuck with the arena and the jumps.
I accidentally ended up with a private lesson tonight
We worked single fences tonight to try and fix the habit I've recently acquired of throwing my upper body forward over jumps (it's not very bad yet...hopefully won't get worse) so I was also able to really focus on distances.
There were a few jumps where I didn't see anything coming so I just kept my leg on and let Scooter decide (I love riding a schoolmaster) and he lengthened EVERY TIME. Clearly he and I both just really like lengthening!
I did try to actively decide whether or not I really needed to lengthen or whether staying the same/shortening would suffice. There were a few jumps where I did see the 'second option,' so to speak, and didn't move up and we got over it mostly in one piece (I kinda kicked a standard once but that's another story haha).
Most of the time I honestly just don't see that I can do anything BUT lengthen to get to the jump with a good distance? *sigh* I'm thinking that I'm gonna end up with another private or semi-private lesson next week so maybe we can focus solely on distances and adjusting differently.
But on the plus side - by the end of the lesson, I was actually keeping my shoulders back and not staring at the ground! Baby steps, eh?