After last week’s bomb cyclone and arctic temperatures (though it was comparatively warm last Thursday just steadily dropping to… 7), I didn’t have my lesson last week. I don’t actually know if there were lessons. I just know that I cancelled. Anyway, I DID have a lesson last night and it was WARM. We’re talking 50s during the day and probably high 40s when I got on? Crazy for January. Of course, as I’m typing this it’s 61 and pouring. Tomorrow the high is 34 and the low is 11. No wonder my migraines have been insane…
Oh by the way, while I didn’t end up going to the awards banquet, Ranger and I managed to snag 3rd place in Pleasure Horse for the series! Not bad for my first year back showing! Thank you Ranger for saving my butt some many times last year!
Back to Ranger. It was so good to see that muddy beast. Thanks to the warm weather, he was a little muddy anywhere his blanket didn’t cover. But, after a nice long grooming (yay for getting to the barn early enough not to have to rush!), he looked respectable enough to head into the ring.
Unfortunately, my weeks of having the indoor to myself seem to be over. Our indoor isn’t tiny at 75×200 but with a full course of jumps and a few other rides, it sometimes feels that way. Plus, there are walls. We use smaller jump standards inside, but still. When I first walked in, there was a beginner lesson finishing up with my trainer, a girl hacking, a teenager hacking, and a lunge line lesson. So, trying to figure out where to go was a little complicated. Especially since I needed to navigate around everyone but the teenager… Eventually the beginner lesson left as did the young girl on the pony. But I hate navigating around lunge lessons! She luckily left before we finished our flat work.
Ranger was basically dead most of the lesson. I sort of miss the “I’m going to take off!” Ranger of the summer. Not that I like him taking off on me, but he was so happy and relaxed that it was sort of boring. Not that I mind it, because, I mean, I love happy Ranger, but he was so low key. Where’s crazy Ranger? I’m sure he’ll be back the second someone turns out his friends when he’s standing in the cross ties instead of when he’s in the indoor… My arms were a mess at the trot (I need to work on that… my left arm was out too farm instead of bringing it back and I can hold my hands a bit higher at the trot) and at the canter I needed to give him a pony club kick just to get him to move out to a forward canter. He was cantering, and I wouldn’t even say he was behind my leg, he was just slow and happy and had no need to move out and was content as can be. After a kick (both directions–because no amount of leg was helping), we got the forward button. Before the kick, I was doing a bit too much leaning to the right. I need to work to the right more. But, in general, I got the comment that Ranger just looking insanely happy. That was the theme of the night. Happy Rangy.
After a brief segue into political discussion with parent of teenager, teenager, my trainer, barn manager (where I think we may have all scared the parent of child on the lunge line who is not client of the barn owner/my trainer… oops) and Ranger took a nap, we started to jump, beginning with the outside line going away from the in gate–started with the line on the right trotting in. First time through was…semi OK in that the line itself was actually bad. But the trip TO the X was ugly. We trotted the cantered then argued down to the trot, lost our straightness then jumped the X ok and worked to get a lovely rest of our line. Because, if I can do one thing right, I can fix a line. But, I also forgot to count my strides which was not ok.
Our second take was significantly improved and we rode in straight though with less impulsion which then required a bit of leg over and on the landing of the X but we rode the line and did a lovely 8 and landing in a nice halt (that I had to work a bit for… thanks Ranger).
From here, we changed direction and did the other outside line, also a cross rail (with a box in front) to a vertical. Thanks to the box, this one was significantly easier and since I got the turn, we just maintained everything for an easy, steady 7. And halted. Less challenges here.
We continued next by cantering over our gate in the center of the ring (there are straw bales on the other side of it) around to the devil jump. I tried to beg out of it even exclaiming how evil the next jump was as I passed my training, but I think I was told just to jump the damn thing because Ranger doesn’t care. I think I added leg and closed my eyes. He was having an awesome day though and landing correctly all night. We hit our first spot and didn’t have to do one simple change all night. I can’t comment on the second jump other than we made it over and no one was impaled. That doesn’t make it less evil.
From here, we continued and jumped our single on the quarter line going away from the gate and continued around to our grey box. The tricks for these are basically turn early enough for the quarter line which means LOOK. This one, even though I tend to struggle to turn early, I tend not to struggle too much with. Then stay out. Because Ranger was landing correctly all night, and jumping super well, we (and not rushing), we easily hit our spot, staying out and used the top of the ring and then rode the long side of the ring. Then we did hit a bit of an issue. To get to the grey box (if you look at ring picture, you can sort of see this), you can’t turn right after the outside line jump, but need to wait until you see the line to the single. Of course, remember, I have a habit of turning late. And there was activity going on at the end of the ring… So, cantering down our long side, we were both sort of watching that a bit too long rather than our jump. Then when I realized that and turned, we long our canter for 2 strides and had 2 trot steps because my leg had nothing and my hand (1 not 2… oops #2) was a bit more powerful. Nonetheless, we got the canter back, found a lovely spot, and jumped our grey fence without missing a beat. Which was good considering it was one of 3 fences that actually had height to it…
As a result, we tried that all again with better results. Whether I was more focused or Ranger knew what we were doing, I don’t know, but we had no issues the second time. Both jumps had the same lovely spots, but not trot steps this time. We ended there and just walked around (much to Ranger’s chagrin as the other horse left and he was all alone… the horrors!).
The night ended with carrots and a brief photo shoot since someone was misbehaving (pawing… do to carrot impatience) so I punished with photos before more carrots and turnout. Overall, it was nice just to be back with my Ranger!