Lessons 2 weeks in a row? Shocking! But once again, seeing Ranger was the highlight of my week. After all, when your week includes things like window estimates, dying pool pumps, migraines, and kitties (!!!!), ok, forget the kitties, how could Ranger NOT be the highlight of the week?
I did not steal kitties Quijote and Sancho from their family, but I thought about it…
Well, maybe the kitties were the highlight, but other than the kitties, Ranger certainly was MUCH better than that other stuff!
Ranger (and Ranger’s adorable new pasture mate)
Unlike last week, Ranger has a bit more energy to offer (not that he was fast or anything, but just slightly more energetic than asleep). Me on the other hand? I was back to being lopsided and riding on the flat with my right shoulder in the air and my hand raised… On top of it, my right hip was hurting all day (I think it’s finally better as of today) so I was riding even more lopsided so I’m sure that wasn’t helping. Eventually I guess I evened out? Or my trainer just stopped nagging me about it. Who knows. Flatwork wasn’t my strength this lesson. I was doing too much with my hands so compensate for my hip?
We started off trotting in to our outside line in the 7. Ranger had other ideas and 2 strides out broke into a canter and while we did manage a 7 (I still had too much energy and had to woah late), less than pretty would me my description. Second time through, I was able to actually ride to it and we trotted in nicely and I was able to maintain rather than woah at the last minute.
We then moved onto our outside single and thankfully cantered in nicely to that and then continued to our inside straw bales coming down to our in gate. The goal here was not to let Ranger get too fast and charge to the gate, because, being Ranger and having a bit of energy, we might do that. Coming around the corner, I felt him pick up the pace so I half halted and he slowed down-ish and but still pulled so I half halted again and he slowed but pulled again and but did not speed up. In my mind, mission accomplished? And we came to the most awkward spot ever where I held, he added and it was super ugly. My trainer was happy I held so we didn’t take the super launch but… before we could talk, we continued around to jump 3, our white oxer around the corner to the inside outside line we had just been doing. We actually managed to keep our pace and jumped it nicely…
So, our discussion and the point of this post.
Coming in to the straw bales I had been half halting to slow Ranger’s pace, but when I half halt, Ranger slows down, yes, but he gets really heavy on the forehand. So, instead of half halting, we introduce the “tug tug” method. Basically, a couple of short tugs, encouraging him to shift his balance off of the forehand whereas the half halt just gets him heavy. (Alternatively, if he gets really fast and draggy, we halt and back).
So, 3 jumps take 2. This time, the first jump was again fine. Employing our “tug, tug” method, we had a much better attempt at the straw bales and continued to the oxer which again was fine.
To end on, we would attempt the whole thing one last time. Except, we can never just end on good enough. Because after having the best first three jumps, really nicely employing a lovely tug, tug to the straw bales, and moving him up to the oxer, my trainer had us continue down our outside vertical (first jump jumped the opposite direction towards the in gate). This was a test to make sure I really understood the tug, tug method. Evidently not only did I understand it, but during this lesson I could use it AND move up to an appropriate spot. This this with this is, the “tug” really doesn’t do too much to change Ranger’s speed, at least once he realizes who is riding him. All it does is changes his balance. It gets him off the forehand and using his hind end so that he can really jump well and it make it even easier to set him up for the fences. Even coming towards things like in gates. He is so well trained to do what his rider say so to that if you add leg, he WILL speed up. If you point him to a fence, he WILL jump it. (Alternatively, if you point him away from something, he WILL skip said jump.) So, if you tell him to get off his front end, he will, but he won’t unless he’s told to. So, after the outside single, we were told to continue around to the outside line in a 6 and since I remembered to keep my leg on around the in gate corner and going away AND remembered to look, the line was easy (and small). And Ranger was perfect. Because he is. We might have finished here or with another jump. I remember finished on another part of the ring. But that was several days ago. So there’s a chance we rejumped the outside single just because. If we did, it was easy because Ranger is Ranger. And at this point he realized there was no point to test me because I won the battle of the tug tug.
We finished with a nice walk along the fields to cool out. I enjoyed it, Ranger just wanted his carrots. Going to attempt to show soon (next weekend? Eeek). Really bad idea financially, but when are horses ever a good idea?
Meanwhile, it’s humid here. I’m stuck at work. Fun times.