The old mantra from my previous coaches ran through my mind a lot this ride. Eyes up, leg on. It’s something I know I need to work on. I’ve started looking at photos of me riding a little more critically, and more often than not my eyes appear to be looking down in the photos. I’m not really sure why I seem to be looking down so much. After all, I had learned long ago that you go where you look – and I certainly don’t want to be going down. So this week I decided to make a concentrated effort to keep those eyes up.
I’m not so sure it worked. Luc was feeling much better this week after having to cut our ride short last time due to him being a little off. After a bit of a slow, sticky start, I reminded Luc that we were here to work, not saunter around, and things quickly picked up. We worked a lot of transitions, something that both of us still need a lot of help with. Luc because he likes to fall into the downward transitions and think about the upward ones for several strides before moving forward – and me, well, because I let him.
After a few really successful ones I decided to move on to working on my eye for distances, something I keep saying I’ll do before I jump, but well usually I just can’t resist popping over a few fences. This week I kept that temptation in check and actually worked with developing my eye over a single pole on the ground. I think I spent too much time staring at the pole – which meant a failure on the not looking down part – and not enough time actually thinking about the track that would take me to it.
Luc was happy enough to trot down to it, and we managed just fine at the trot. Which isn’t really too difficult seeing as it was just the one pole. Then I tried it at the canter. Epic fail. The first two or three times I ended up getting Luc to a terrible distance where he split the pole instead of smoothly cantering over it. Then I got the short spot. Then the long. I’m pretty sure I was spending the approach just hoping the right distance would magically appear instead of actually riding for it. In the end though, I did manage to ride to the right spot twice in a row so I called it a day. It looks like I still have a ways to go before I can confidently find a distance again. But I do feel like I’m making progress.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to stay positive and continue to work on keeping my eyes and up and leg on. Then maybe I’ll tackle my coach’s other favourite mantra – sit up!