What else to do on a Friday afternoon than recap my last couple of lessons? It’s better than bemoaning the future of the world…
Thanks to some pretty awful migraines this week, I never actually got around to recapping my lesson last week. I’ll try to do that, though most of my memories from last week are sort of lost. What I do remember was last week was cold. The start of our lovely cold snap that lasted far too many days. Thursday night wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely the start of the cold snap.
Ranger has been a little lazy lately and this lesson was really no different. I rushed to my lesson after receiving a message telling me the lesson before me cancelled and asking if I could get there earlier (I’m the last lesson of the night). I couldn’t quite be ready at 6, but I think I was on by 6:10ish so not bad!
First surprise of the night, new course! No more evil 2 stride! After warming up with a lot of bending and counter bending, we started with the evil jump (that weird hay bale jump that I hate so much). Except, instead of being the second jump in the 2 stride, it was a single on the outside. First time through we cantered over it to the left. Strangely enough, the jump was perfect. My trainer did NOT see the spot I was holding to, but I held him to something and the whole thing just worked. Somehow. Thanks to that, we didn’t need to do it again to the left. Cantering to the right wasn’t nearly as successful. Must have done it 3-4 times just working on turning soon enough, having enough canter… I couldn’t see a distance to save my life, which was OK, distances evidently were NOT the point of the exercise. The point was my turn to the stupid evil jump. I finally turned soon enough and we moved on. For some reason I just fear impaling myself on that picket fence of the jump… I hate that damn thing!
From here I think we did an inside single, goal being FORWARD canter. My issue is if I don’t see a spot, I hold. I need to ride forward instead of holding to nothing. The second I starting moving forward, I could find the distances. But, insecurity led to HOLD. We did this around to the inside line which I was told I needed to do in a 6 so it was land and GO. Since we were heading to the in gate, it actually worked. Then we something (it’s been a week) around to an inside single. So, it was probably an inside single around to another inside single. I was warned it was tight, but I figured it was similar to where the jump was previously as it looked like it was in a similar location. Yeah, not so much. First jump was fine, I turned a little late, though we had it, Ranger likes to drift, I dropped my shoulders, and there we were skirting right around the damn jump.
Ooops. Way tighter than I thought. (Piece of foreshadowing. That stupid jump would set the tone for my entire lesson the next lesson). Reminder? I need to remember to steer a LITTLE (or a lot) earlier. And use both hands. So we did it again and I say back, and I remembered to ride the entire time. And we jumped the stupid jump.
From things got harder. See, by this point, I was tired. Ranger was tired. And lazy. And we were heading AWAY from the in gate. We jumped some jump in the ring or 2, I don’t remember, the continued to the outside line which was actually huge and did that going away from the in gate and were to do it in a 6. Except we managed a 7 and a 6.5 and some superman stunts. I mean, we got through it and Ranger got lots of thanks for saving my butt, but by this point I was dying. So, allowing me no time to breathe, I think I picked up my canter at the far end, gave him a massive kick, jumped the first jump, kicked, did the second, and it was less of a superman effort. Kept my canter, and FINALLY got a perfect 6. Holy crap. I swear that horse saved my butt.
Needless to say he earned his carrots!
And because this was the week of weather swings, we went from freezing last week, 8 degrees on Tuesday morning to the 60s on Thursday for this week’s lesson.
For the first time in a couple of months, we rode outside. Just as I was finally getting used to the tight walls! The ring was wet, it was dark, and it certainly felt strange to be outside, but we really can’t complain about lessons outside at night in January!
Unlike last week, very short warm up (honestly, it was so warm, Ranger was already warmed up). I’m getting better at picking up a forward trot with him which is nice. It’s so easy to get a lazy trot with him. While cantering, the other person riding came flying off which definitely upset Ranger when the other horse left the ring, but otherwise…
We warmed up with some weird skinny, angled single at the end of the ring. On a tight turn. Trotted it to the left once before cantering in. Basically, me working on looking ahead, steering with both hands, and looking on the landing. The left actually went really well once I stopped focusing so much as to where I was turning and just started looking at the jump. The right was OK trotting in, but once I kept my canter we had a nice repeat of the tight turn last week, dodge and duck last minute. Ooops. I dropped my shoulders, steered with 1 hand and not both and Ranger laughed and me and said, “I don’t think so!” So, I trotted it again, and then remembered to ride, squared my shoulders and actually steered and what do you know? We did it! It’s amazing what riding actually does! I think I had to repeat 3 times, the 3 was actually the suckiest spot, but that point I was riding it confidently enough that he wasn’t going to even try anything. Go figure, riding works…
We moved on to cantering a 2 jumps in a figure 8. First jump, we were a little forward (hello, in gate), second jump was perfect, and I think we continued around to t he first jump again, this time half halting to actually get an appropriate pace. We did and moved on.
We ended by cantering in to our outside line towards the in gate and TIGHT turn to an inside single, the goal being control for the line and turning in time for the single. First jump was perfect, I gave a firm half half, he came right back to me, and then the second jump was right there. We turned a little early for the last jump and jumped it at a slight angle, but considering how much he drifts, evidently this was 100% OK and acceptable.
We called it a day here. I was happy and confident and didn’t want to mess with that. Show on Sunday.