Due to the ugly storm we had last Thursday, last week’s lesson was moved to Saturday morning (though, as it turned out, by the time my lesson rolled around, it was clear and sunny… go figure?). Of course, Saturday morning was sunny, windy, and chilly… Of course… But dry? Then last night’s lesson was back to my usual Thursday night time slot. So, this is my attempt to recap 2 lessons in one… With some media accompanying the lesser of the 2 rides… Of course. Because I can’t ever remember to record when everything is perfect. Those rides just need to live in my memory and everyone will just have to believe me when I tell you it was PERFECTION.
So Saturday morning.
What better way to start the weekend then with a visit with my buddy Ranger. I forgot his carrots unfortunately so he had to settle for peppermints. He likes peppermints, but I think he prefers the peppermint AND carrot combination. Anyway, we had the choice of riding in or out and despite the cold, I chose out. I mean, we’ve been cooped up inside most of the winter and it’s just nice to be out. Of course, I didn’t actually realize how strong the wind was… Nonetheless, outside we went. After a warmup on the flat where my hand were a little higher than normal (pattern here…), we moved on to jumping and it was a nice let’s hit all my spots again kind of day, the kind of day that never gets recorded on camera… A few months ago I mentioned that my trainer said I really DO have a crazy good eye so there might be something to that and this spot for spot thing might NOT be a fluke, but still.
That said, after the first jump (so this is all random highlights since I honestly don’t remember half of the lesson other than not missing a single spot and getting all my strides so this may not be the first jump but rather the first time doing the outside single because, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure we started with the log jump while we were cantering after first cantering a small circle around the damn thing. Evil. Evil I tell you. But, it was fine and we jumped it since I seem to actually know how to steer these days), our outside single on the left lead. We jumped it fine, excepted landed on the right lead and a certain Ranger-horse decided that he did NOT want to come back to trot his change so we fought around the corner until he realized I was NOT taking no for an answer and then we got the change and continued to our inside oxer without missing a beat or a the spot or changing pace.
So, supposedly this is the issue he does sometimes with the kids. Except they DON’T get him back and then he gets fast (they hang on him since he doesn’t comeback to them) and then they head to the next jump speeding on the wrong lead and… I mean nothing happens or anything but… Yeah. So, after that explanation, I was told next time, if he gave me any trouble coming back after the single for the simple change (he STRONGLY prefers his right lead), halt, back him up a couple of steps, then ask for the canter. Of course, unlike the kids, while I had to work for it the last time, I actually got the change and re-settled Ranger and jumped the second jump without any drama which led Ranger to an “oh shit” moment–way too much work… So, the second time through, we landed, he immediately came right back to me, easy simple change, and we were on our way with a balanced canter. His drama didn’t work on me so he certainly wasn’t trying that again. He’s way too smart for that.
I think we added in the outside line in the 6 and got the 6 first time and then added the inside in the 6 and got the 6. I can’t remember what, if anything else we did. But, it was an adding lines/jumps as we went and someone was perfect. Love him to death.
And evidently he’s MUCH happier too. The child he really hates quit. And said child is NOT the one I regularly split trailer fees with which is even better.
For as good as Saturday’s lesson was, last night’s lesson was just…off? I don’t know. It was part me, part Ranger, part just energy? I don’t know. But, I remembered my carrots so all was good in the end. And that’s what matters, right?
On top of that, lots of energy/activity in the barn due to a rated show today/tomorrow… So, baths, grooming, tack cleaning, and braiding. Not really anything I need to deal with. I enjoy local stuff and schooling shows, but rated shows are way out of my budget. Besides, I’d rather ride Ranger than anyone fancy anyway.
Ranger was a bit…I don’t want to say off, but maybe stiff is the right word? He worked out of most of it, but I definitely felt it mostly to the left. If we stayed to the left, he was fine. If we made a bunch of turns and direction changes, that’s where we just couldn’t stay consistent. He tried his heart out for me though. He earned his 4 carrots and an extra several peppermints.
After a warm up on the flat where AGAIN my hands were a mess. Actually, trotting they were first fine then my right hand was a mess then my right shoulder started interfering as well. Actually at one point my whole right side was a mess… My mostly my right hand… I have no idea. When we where circling this was most problematic… So, my right hand needs work. Lots of work. How does one work on a right hand? Especially when the right hand isn’t regularly an issue? But, at the same time, if Ranger was having issues with his left lead and falling in, it might all be impacting my right hand/side issues too… TBC next week…
The lesson before me was doing horse show prep on Ranger’s former BFF Forrest. (I think he is a former BFF as Ranger didn’t even care when he left the ring…) She worked really hard (strides) and all I could say was “I don’t want to work that hard!” I didn’t work that hard in that sense, but in a different sense… Eeek. I started by cantering (left lead) over the natural vertical around to the really skinny green single (REALLY skinny). Both are awkward to approach. So, while it’s only 2 jumps, basically I had to steer. My favorite! And, again, unlike a normal person, I regularly turn late which is often the reason I miss spots, not due to not seeing them. However, I turned early (meaning, on time) for the first, got my change, and turned right at/after the first jump of our outside line and got my wiggly pony to the center of the skinny. And when I say center, I mean the jump. Because this thing had NO CENTER. There was the jump or going around the damn thing.
But, that wasn’t good enough. Instead of doing THAT again, we had to do that whole thing backwards. So, down the skinny (white side) and up the natural. Holy crap. Once I worked out how the hell I was even going to approach the damn skinny (which looked even skinnier from this side (I have to take a picture of this thing–which will prove 1) it is as skinny as I’m saying or 2) it’s not as skinny as I’m claiming [eta: I held of publishing so I could add pictures. you judge. it’s pretty skinny but is it that skinny?). So, we pick up our canter, and my perfect Ranger starts drifter right then left then right then left. And suddenly TIME. SLOWS. DOWN. And I realize I don’t want to jump this damn evil jump. Which means I HAVE TO JUMP THIS JUMP. So, somehow, using all the leg strength and rein and steering power I have, 2 strides strides out, I realize I can actually make him jump this thing so we do and continue to the natural and (which in this direction was easy) jump that nicely. I wish we had that skinny on video because I’m pretty sure it was impressive. My trainer’s reaction was priceless. She was convinced we were going around it, impressed we made it over, but then said the jump itself was really nice. I guess that’s why you ride every last step. Better yet? We did NOT have to repeat that jump! Success!
So from there we did some other jumps/courses in some orders/combinations I don’t remember. But I think the outside line, the outside single, and that natural jump were involved…
Then the wheels fell off a bit. We ended with the weird turn to the brush jump that a few weeks ago I could not for the life of me figure out how my trainer wanted me to approach that thing. I just DID NOT GET IT. Thankfully, I remembered this week.
So we started off with that, and cantered around to the inside line (6) and then were to continue to the outside single. However, that single was just NOT. Working. We would get our change late (left lead), went slightly wide, and could not establish a steady pace. It would be choppy and then the jump was a mess. The first time through was the better of the 2 approaches.
The second time through the turn was so bad I circled but the canter was still a mess and the spot wasn’t there and Ranger took out part of the jump (I cut that from the video because I just felt back about that incident…). Me being me, I blamed myself though part was his stiffness yesterday. To end on, after telling me he’d be FINE, we cantered once around to establish a steady pace, we simply jumped the single and he felt much better so there really is something to be said about the changes of direction making things harder on him yesterday.
Again, I stuffed him with treats to thank him after.
No paper chase for me today. The people I was to go with tried to talk me into coming anyway, but… They said they were mostly walking and if Batts attitude was better now, I’d go for it, but it’s not. My trainer actually offered me the opportunity to take Ranger today since she’d be at the show which was super awesome, but, honestly? I’m not the most experienced hauler yet and even though it’s only 7 miles, I’d rather not haul someone else’s precious cargo. Besides, I’ve got an out step up stock that works SO WELL for me, but not for everyone. And, at this point, I’ve talked myself out of the paper chase. But, it was an amazing offer that makes happy that I’ve found a good barn family. And there will be other paper chases. Plenty of them. So today I’ll take advantage of the horse show and haul Batt over and ride him instead. And hope he doesn’t try and kill me…