Sunday, March 27, 2011

Closing in on the Goal

I set up an Elite Jumpers course today and tried the 15-point bonus.  I was expecting the send down the line to #5 to be the most difficult part of the course.  However, Belle's ability to drive away from me has really come a long way since last July, and she fairly flew down the line of jumps.

Unfortunately, I habitually stop and send with the BIG ARM.  Most of the time, I can get away with this in Elite Chances.  However, from behind the 15-point line stopping wrecks havoc  with my ability to communicate the course to Belle.  Supposedly, it that it takes about six weeks to break a habit or develop a new one.  If I'm vigilant, hopefully by mid-May I won't have to think about continuing to move because it will have become as natural to me as stopping is now.

Since it's quite chilly outside, I went out for four short sessions, and during the third session, a couple of times, it felt as if I had bounced off an invisible wall when I came to a stop.  If I can maintain that level of awareness, it will make re-training myself much easier.  Of course, I also have Belle to keep me on the straight and narrow.  When I keep moving smoothly while sending her, her path is sure and smooth.  When I stop inappropriately, there is a hesitation or loop in her path or she goes in the wrong direction.

It came to me during the fourth session, that when practicing bonus-line handling, I should walk the course as if I were going to handle from behind the bonus line.  However, when it comes to actually running the course, my over-riding goal has to be remaining in motion.  If that means I go two feet or ten feet over the line, that's okay.  With practice I should be able to plan my path and gauge my speed and my stride with more and more accuracy and avoid crossing the bonus line.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.  ~Author Unknown

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