So I’m finally back in the swing of lessons, hopefully at least for a few weeks or maybe until Pony Finals?
With wonky weather and a horse show, I moved my lesson last week to Friday evening and it was gorgeous and then somehow we finished, were about to go for a trail ride to cool off, felt 2 drops of rain and though better of it, walked into the barn, and the skies opened up. Downpours for what felt like at least 45 minutes. Then it ended, I managed to turn Ranger out, and then more insanely heavy rain.
Unfortunately, I remember very little of my lesson other than for the first 3/4 of my lesson I could NOT use my corners and therefore could not find a spot to save my life. I was a mess. Eventually, I actually stayed on the rail and stopped rushing and bam! the spots where there. Go figure?
This week the mid atlantic is experiencing a lovely heat wave with unbearable humidity. Today they’re calling for the heat index to be near 105 but really the humidity is what’s bad. So, I moved my lesson to 8AM to try and beat the heat.
It was still damn hot even at 8AM.
In preparation for our show on Monday (more on that later), the goal was 15mph trot, loose reins, and trot somewhere you haven’t trotted before each time around the ring, trying to keep him round and not interfering with my hands and keeping the bend. Sometimes I was more successful than others. Lots of trot-halt-trot transitions mixed in as well. Left lead we cantered a circle using first half the ring then later a small circle not passing the mounting block down at the far end. The left lead is a struggle for us at the canter and I had to work to keep my body back, look ahead, and not break AND not turn early enough. Add in heat… Somehow we were actually successful today. Small canter circles, left lead in particular, I HATE. I think Ranger helped. I’m pretty sure he knew we’d still be working on the damn circle if we broke…
Right lead we were spared of circles and added in the our log jump (outside single). First time through we had a nice soft canter. Second time around, I was asked to be more forward so I asked for more canter. Still a nice easy jump. At this point, I’m pretty sure Ranger was ready to be done.
We started cantering down my favorite straw bale jump towards the in gate (now in a new location) and continued around to a brown box jump so it was sort of a figure 8. Goal was not to rush to the bales, but to keep the energy to the boxes and remember to stay out long enough on the rail but then to use both hands to steer to the center. Today was the start of “I can see my spots today” and “Jumping is easy?” It was turning out to be that kind of lesson.
Next we came up the straw bales and then down the inside line on the quarter line and continued around to our brown boxes. First time, picking up the canter, Ranger was a bit strong and even through I tried to “tug-tug” I also held a bit. As a result, we broke turning the corner to the bales and then got our canter back. The spot was still there but the rhythm wasn’t a nice as it could have been. Still, remember that the turn to the inside quarter line was tight, I remembered to stay out (yay for fixing last week’s mistakes!) and look and our turn worked and again, spot was there and the line was there. We kept our energy and continued to the last jump which was fine. We repeated our exercise to improve my hands and not fight and with a better first turn and better balance, we didn’t break–everything else stayed the same. We walked our corner to looked at the angle of a broken line (I like looking at lines whenever possible, especially if the turn is weird).
From the first jump of our broken/bending line, we turned left and picked up a canter and cantered down over the outside single log jump, cantered up our brown boxed, and then continued around to our weird broken bending line. What can I say, I was have a good day? I don’t know…
By this point, we’d jumped everything in the ring but 3 jumps. So, we ended with trotting the cross rail on the end (awkward entrance) down the long side to the inside line (goal 6 strides). First time through we came in from the left. The cross rail was fine (Ranger wanted to rush it, but whatever), but then I struggled to bring him back for the change and I never re-established our canter rhythm. By the time we approached the first jump of the line, we were crooked and it wasn’t pretty. We ended up with a 7 because that was what was there and I didn’t have any rhythm. We did it again, this time from the right. The cross rail was better (I found the right approach easier even though most evidently like the left approach better?), he still wanted to rush, but we landed less draggy. I managed to bring him back for our change right away and then established a rhythm rather than fighting and could actually look for my spot. First jump was there and then I could move him up for the 6. Thankfully after that, we were done.
I tried to walk him out a bit, but moved on to the hose pretty quickly. I’m pretty sure I spent 30 minutes hosing and scraping before he actually felt cool. No one was ever going to dry today…
Meanwhile we’re supposedly showing on Monday… I’ll be off from work for the week and agreed to this. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Like all shows do… But now? Local show at Devon which is mostly the reason. How often do I have the chance to show at Devon? Pretty much never. So, for that reason I’m going. But then I think, why spend money so that people can judge me? Makes little sense… Regardless, this will probably be it show-wise for me for a while. I need to build up my reserves. Maybe sometime in the fall, maybe not. But definitely it for the summer. Possibly the fall. But maybe I’ll get some nice pictures out of this one?