I already posted about Sam, the giant horse, but I figure I should catch up a little on the rest of the weekend.
I’m trying to get back into lessons again and had my first lesson (in a couple of years) scheduled for earlier last week. Of course, a storm was moving in so about 40 minutes before my lesson, we rescheduled for Friday. Storm dissipated completely and it was sunny (though raining) during my would be lesson.
Lesson on Friday was a little earlier than was convenient, but being a holiday weekend, I decided I could skip out a little early. So, when 4:30 came around, I headed out. Just to get to my car as a bolt of lightening struck and knocked out power across the university campus. No rain at this point either. Of course, I park in a gated lot which meant that the electric gate didn’t work to let us all out. Calls to parking and public safety were useless and no one necessarily wanted to be “the one” to break the gate. Eventually, we decided to drive through the handicap ramp and sidewalk to exit the parking lot. Fun times, but no cars go stuck. I’m not sure if it would have been as successful if it were raining…
My drive home included lots of sun, lots of rain, localized flooding, localized heavy winds, and downed branches. Oh and more blinding sun. I got home to find heavy rain and part of a tree on my round pen. Another fun project. Still, radar looked looked like it would clear out, 6pm showed 0% percolation, and no lesson cancellation. Because of the rain, I ended up rushing out last minute (we had a long 1 mile drive…) and felted rushed pretty much until I was actually on Batts.
While I’ve worked with this trainer very briefly a few years ago, I was still nervous because that’s me. Nerves and stress. Add in crazy 90% humidity and I was feeling sort of wonky to start out.
Overall, the lesson went pretty well and we’re going to try and stick to an every other week schedule (I’d love to do more, but my bank account objects) and I’ll haul in on off weeks to hack in the ring. We worked on pace, moving off my leg when asked, bending, and energy. Needless to say, we rocked our halts and downward transitions, but it was suggested I start wearing spurs with him again since he was zero respect for my leg. Right now we’re following the whole ask with leg once, then demand with crop. I’ve avoided spurs lately as my leg sucks and swings though trainer has indicated that it really doesn’t in reality… So, back on spurs go, at least for flat work.
We actually did some jumping which surprised me as I was expecting a flat lesson. I don’t know how much I’ve posted about Batty, but he’s a former dead quiet, bombproof lesson horse who would be absolutely perfect if he weren’t a stopper… A reluctance for jumping combined with getting hit in the mouth by a variety of riders and all of that… Even poles were an issue at times (stopping or trying to launch over them). Anyway, since I’ve had him, I haven’t done too much jumping. I didn’t jump him at all for the first few months and then boredom hit and poles were reintroduced as were cross rails. He has his moments, but for the most part, he’s pretty good with simple, boring cross rails of varying heights. Even boring (read empty) verticals were pretty consistent too and he’d occasionally pop over a 2’6″ bland vertical. Then, with all of his soundness issues and abscesses last year, he hasn’t really jumped much. Anyway, a few weeks back he popped over some cross rails and a tiny vertical and then the following week we fought a little with our jumps since the one cross rail was trying to eat him… After successfully trotting a few cross rail courses, we haven’t actually popped over anything since.
So when trainer suggested some fences, I wasn’t entirely certain. Especially since we were facing actual solid jumps (brush box and some astroturf covered thing). They were tiny, but solid. Determined he could walk over them, we worked on the whole forward motion thing. Lots of crop and kicking later, he finally made it over to lots of pats and praise. Second time was quicker success, third time was immediate. Then we trotting it before moving onto the second jump. Astro turf is scary, but having learned from the first jump, we eventually made it over, and then immediately made it over the second time. Once he was over, he was good. We trotted the line once then trotted in and cantered out and called it a day. Batty was pretty darn pleased with himself. He’s a strange one and moves very quickly from OMG something’s living in that jump and it’s going to eat me to Mr. Cocky and Proud of Himself (from there we move onto “I’m bored and can’t be bothered to put in effort” but we didn’t get that far).
Anyway, post lesson we were both exhausted and sweaty. After a nice cool shower (using cross ties! which appears we’re fine with again) we headed home to a thoroughbred who missed his Batthorse very much…
On Sunday, we were supposed to go to a fun little schooling show at my friend’s barn, but due to low entries, she cancelled. Instead, we headed out to Fair Hill for a trail ride with Erik and the dogs.
Armed with a broken crop, I learned bridges are something we need to work on. He was find with the first bridge until a car went under it and then no go. Darn broken crop didn’t help me much. Second bridge was scary because of the sound the small piece of metal made when he stepped on it. I eventually got off and forced him over it (again, damn broken crop) and considered it a success. The covered bridge however was no issue at all and he happily crossed that one (that was the bridge we had issues over last time). Still, considering he was out there without other horses, he did pretty well. Stuck mostly to the walk as my Hermione dog did NOT like me getting that far ahead and since it was warm, I didn’t feel like stressing my already tired pups (Marble got to lay in the creek so she was happy). I did let him canter up this small hill a bit once the dogs were back at the truck and that seemed to make him happy. Strange horse likes cantering up hill.
Arrived home and the boys were happily reunited. Well, Subi was happy, Batt just wanted to eat and I can’t same Jiminy actually cared.