El Brego de Oro and I had a big day during our jumping lesson. We jumped our first triple! Brego was impressed, he catapulted me clean out of the saddle. The trainer set it up so the first element was an oxer, then 21' feet to a vertical, then 19' feet to the third vertical. It was a tough technical question for us: how to control the scope over the oxer to get enough impulsion to squeeze in the verticals. Since Brego is not the most careful jumper, it was an eye opening experience.
In general, we had a great ride. Brego is such a jumper, he loves to get big air. Unfortunately, I do not love how I am riding big air. We focused on technical issues with Brego and not my position tonight, since my trainer deems me effective "enough". When I watch the video, I am still falling back in the air, so my position is going to be a factor when we start taking rails behind. But for now, Brego has the scope to compensate.
My trainer also focused on my upper body, asking me to stay more upright and control the ducking. He wanted a following release, not a crest release, to support Brego through the combinations. My hands did fine, but my elbows were in mid-flight as always.
We worked a lot on me supporting him off the ground at verticals. Since he is less impressed with them, I need to really get him off my leg and support him off the ground. If I drop my upper body and go too soft, he will take the rail.
I was very pleased with the rides in general. Brego was nicely self propelled. The canter work I had been doing all week showed through in his departures and balance on course. I felt like I had some horse under me, even when we weren't going mach 3 around the course. He was able to spring off the ground thanks to his nice canter. Until he got tired, he felt really good. If I could remember to ask for the lead in the air, he got it. Otherwise he threw in some nice swaps.
My trainer and I talked some more about taking Brego to some jumper shows in the fall. He said it was too bad we weren't in Ireland. In Ireland, they take cash bets at the ring and he said Brego would make some serious money. No one would bet him to go clear. It made me laugh, contemplating a future career on Brego's jumping ability. A scary thought.
All in all, I am pleased with our work. I tend to be critical of my riding (as if you hadn't noticed) so I am trying not to expect perfection, but just look at the overall picture. We're getting around the course in a smart manner, no more scrambling. We take some rails, but that's a lot of my fault. Sometimes I don't understand the questions being asked, like I moved Brego up in the triple when instead I should have half-halted.
As always, the lesson pushed me, but left me with a feeling of confidence. We worked on some tough stuff, way more than I can expect in my upcoming shows. So if I can keep my head and think through the course, we should do well.