So many of you guys know that I have been getting nervous recently with jumping, and that I was trying to get over some of that before the clinic I had this weekend with a fairly well known trainer. Well, all of the advice helped and I had a great time at the clinic and took away some good ideas. Two hours riding both days in the 2' to 2'6" division so that the fence height wouldn't be an issue for me. Rode one of my trainer's horses, one that I trusted and knew wouldn't do anything dumb.
First day was about getting my confidence back. Of course the wind decided to go crazy and start blowing down jump standards with the first one occuring during my first jump, resulting in a spook and me on the ground. This horse never spooks so it caught me by suprise. Got back on and had to work my rear end off to keep him concentrated on me and not everything happening because of the wind. Did some basics that day, mainly working on my nerves. Did discover that a good way to make me ride through my nerves is for me to really concentrate on my legs. They have improved significantly from what they were before, and when I became nervous I concentrated on really trying to wrap them around my horse (and you can laugh at this when you see the pics of me on him) and that helped keep me together.
The second day we stepped it up a notch and worked on gymnastics, bending lines, and jumping on a circle. Finally felt the "IT" jump where I finally let the horse close the angles of my body by his jump, where I never moved, and you know what, I felt like no matter what that horse did before, over, or after the jump could he unseat me. I had never felt that before and will definately be working on feeling that again. Also realized that my really weak point is my upper body. My trainer's horses are very different from what I used to ride - much more into your hand and requiring a power-driven ride from both legs and hands to hold them together, especially when they are a little out of shape (like the horse I was on). The clinician did give me some pointers on how to use my body with these guys to help keep them from pulling me around, but part of it will just be me riding them more and getting stronger in my core.
I also had the opportunity to watch all of the other groups, working the arena crew for some of them. It was fantastic to hear ideas from the clinician on working with the different horses, and one of the best things was when a horse refused a fence, that the only goal next time through was to get over. Didn't matter what it looked like, as long as it was accomplished. That sometimes the only goal you need is to get it done. She also had different ways of handling horses when the acted up, different ways of using the seat to influence the horse. A highlight was watching this Grand Prix rider coaching an up and coming grand prix rider working with a younger horse. I have never been up close and personal to someone jumping that height or that spread. Seeing how they progressively worked their way up and spreading the fences, changing the take off spots to accurately jump a triple bar was amazing. Also how you can change things in mid air to encourage more scope, just things I didn't know could be done.
I definately picked up some good ideas to take away from the clinic and had a great time with it. Now for my muscles to recover.