I've been at my new riding school for 9 lessons now and after a talk with my instructor I'm entered in a clear round competition just after Christmas. The horse that was decided on for me to enter is a 16.3hh Irish Draught mare. I rode her last week over a small course of just three fences to find out what she's like over fences.
This week, thanks to the lovely weather and lovely bus services, I ended up being late for my lesson so we just had time to throw me on her and go round a proper course. According to my instructor I'm getting the turns on her much better but because I've been told she's strong and I felt that last week I'm blocking her in front and not providing enough leg so we had a couple of refusal over jumps that we should have done. However we came to the last fence which was a stile fence, had a run out so we circled and came at again. Same problem which was my fault but because I got my leg on her at the last minute she hesitated then bounced over. Well I just pitched on over her shoulder because I didn't get my shoulders back in time for the landing. Turns out falling off a 16.3hh isn't all that bad. I think I'll be stiff tomorrow but I just sat up, did a funny little laugh, found my glasses (no mean feat because without them I am blind) then remounted to try the fence again. Another run out because I backed off. Recircled and this time we flew over. Stayed on because I got my shoulders back.
We've agreed that my stirrups are going to be practically racing style because I seem to balance better riding short and coping with her big jump. I've got to remember to get my shoulders back as I go over. Not to block her too much in front and keep the leg on but at the same time she does get strong so we've agreed that I'm going to do the course in trot because it's not against the clock and we want a tidy round rather than a fast, sloppy one. I've got to keep my eye on my lines to the fence because if I don't get them just right then the mare runs out or refuses as I found going over a double where the line was just after H which I didn't realise at first. As a joke we've agreed I can fall off so long as it's after the last fence because then technically I'll have done a clear round.
Now the problem is this stile. It's probably going to be in the competition course. I don't like them, I don't like the look of them since it looks like there's not enough of a jump so I'm aware I back off even when I shouldn't. I remember a course I did a couple of years ago where a stile was included and I had a refusal then for the same reasons although I can't decide whether I like the one I did today more. The one I did today used those step type wings whereas the old one used proper jump wings so it looked like you were going to lose the skin on your knees going through. Today's lesson is the first time a stile has been used so I need tips or advice that's worked for people. It's this one fence that's the problem. When I've jumped in lessons it's been mostly playing with height, set up and approach. The one fence I haven't worked on is this one. I've got myself booked onto a group lesson that is focuses on practice for the competition so hopefully if the stile is going to be used then that will be worked on because it is the one I imagine most people have the trouble with.
As of yet the course for Monday is still being designed. My instructor has said the one she's designed that we practiced over may be used, it's only off chance but I've got my fingers crossed. On the day I'll have 10/15 minutes to warm up and pop over a practice fence. I'm entered in 2 rounds, the plan is to use the first round as a practice round for the next round. The fences aren't going to be that big, I think about 2ft 9 or smaller. I struggle with judging height, for example I had the mare pegged at 15.3hh for some reason. Bit out there.
Anyhow any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated and well done for reading my little novel.