Did you know horses are big fans of candy corn? For the record they are. I did not know this until last night, but Ranger assured me CANDY CORN IS SO DAMN GOOD. So, now you know.
I didn’t have a lesson last week and other than a trail ride 2 Saturdays ago, I haven’t ridden since my last lesson. So, yeah. I was expecting to be rusty. But, it was a warm night (60s in NOVEMBER in the evening?!?!) and Ranger was pokey until the ponies left and then he had JUST enough speed to be perfection in a pinto large pony-sized package.
After warming up with our standard w/t/c and circles (we bended!), my trainer warned me we were doing something different. Yay? I drew pictures to illustrate… I’m sorry.
We started with course 1. Of course, when this all started, I didn’t know that there was going to be a course 1. Or 2. Or 3. Or 4. Or that these exercises were building onto each other. Oh how naive I was… But, after asking lots of questions (it wouldn’t be a lesson without be over analyzing the exercise…. We took on course 1.
Interestingly enough, despite my analysis, it was actually easy. Like really easy. I’m not sure it should have been, but it was? First off, last night, the straw bales became my new favorite jump. It was just a lovely jump and our approach was nice every time and we could do no wrong. It didn’t look big, but it wasn’t tiny. Just a solid 2’6″ fence that didn’t bother me at all. He landed well and balanced and on the right lead we happily cantered to our rock, trotted our log jump, and cantered to the green single (which I later learned wasn’t a single…). Easy.
Course 2 was similar but not?
And it went just as well. Of course, I needed to walk the first turn to see HOW to ride it before I actually rode it because I’m insane, but… Picking up the canter, made sure I took a wider approach to the brown boxes, but other than that, the jump was fine. It rode just as well as the straw bales as was a similar size as scope. The rest was just as easy. The hardest part was the halt as Ranger was like “OMG LINE!” but we halted, just not as fast or as straight as I’d have liked. But we got it.
The only real mistake of the night came with course 3. Everything was fine through the green jump. However, we rode out of that conservatively and Ranger just assumed we were cantering around the corner and never saw the oxer. I then steered to it with 1 hand rather than 2 and basically brought him to nothing. Being the incredible horse that he is, he saved my ass and jumped me out of the shit spot and just knocked the back rail of the (impressive) oxer and saved my butt. But, needless to say, we were required to repeat and I was required to RIDE out of the green jump.
On repeat, it was all fine. We landed from the green jump and I actually moved him up and looked at the jump. I used 2 hands to steer (what a concept) and Ranger, not liking to make mistakes even when they are my fault, jumped the shit out of the oxer which was, as I indicated, the only jump that I found impressive of the night (so 2’9″ ish?). He was NOT touching it.
As we started our final course, Ranger’s quarter started to expire. Whoever was in the indoor finished their lesson/ride and turned off the lights so Ranger decided that HE NEEDED TO BE DONE TOO. So, upon trying to pick up my canter, he started to ignore me then a wrong lead then no canter… Rather than chase him, I decided start over. Then he started screaming for his field mates. So I halted, got his attention back on me, and asked for the canter and the good boy that he is, realized that the right answer was a left lead canter. Without recapping the whole thing, he was foot perfect the entire time.
We ended there.
It was seriously one of the most fun lessons I’ve had in a while. It gives me something to focus on other than the size of the jumps or the jumps themselves and also allows me to rely on my eye which, evidently, is my strength as rider. My trainer keeps reminding me that I have a scary good eye… I get upset when I miss spots, especially when I miss the same distance over and over again because it seems, I don’t miss distances (except at horse shows). So what’s my strength as a rider? I have an abnormally good eye. So this exercise let take advantage of that and focus on lots of other stuff. And if nothing else it was fun.
Then Ranger got lots of carrots and candy corn. Because he’s perfect. And needed to cool off. And I needed to entertain him while he cooled off. And he’s seriously impatient.
He’s lucky I love him…