I had a magical jump lesson this week. Perhaps life-changing. We shall see over time. But dang, it was super cool.
First, some background. When I was on my honeymoon, my barn hosted a clinic that neither I nor Trainer B could attend – but through those who did ride in the clinic she learned a new tool / technique for riding a jump course. (The clinician was Sinead Halpin. I want to give credit where it is due, but given that this is, like, thirdhand information, I do not vouch for its faithfulness to what was originally taught in the clinic. Nor do I mean to talk about these ideas that started in the clinic and claim them as mine or my trainer’s original thought. *End disclaimer*)
The technique is thus. As you ride, you say OUT LOUD these words: Canter. Corner. Contact. And then over the jump you say the lead you want to land on.
What is amazing is how all the stuff we do and think about on course is distilled into these four things. Get a good canter. Make a good turn through the corner. Push forward into contact on the approach. Land on the proper lead.
It was harder than I expected to keep all of this in my head alongside the actual course, but when I did, it was incredible. We had a great balanced canter, nice turns, I stopped pulling to the base, Duke was up in front of my leg, and we landed on the correct lead every. single. time.
Also, side note: I’m kind of terrible at differentiating left and right. I know which direction I want to go, but I often mix up saying left or right. I do this when navigating for my husband, too. It’s never not embarrassing. But even when I would say, “Righ- no, left lead!” over a fence, we still would land on the correct one. Probably because I know we’re going left but sometimes I say right. Sometimes I would get scrambled and my brain would go “Corner! No, we turned already! Canter! NO – AH! CONTACT! JUMP OMG LEFT LEAD” and it still worked out. That only happened a couple of times.