Let me start by saying, I should have written this Friday, but I didn’t. And without media of ANY kind, a new ring set up, and a deteriorating brain, this will be interesting. Still, instead of letting this lesson go, I’m going to try…
I showed up Thursday to a (basically) empty barn and quickly falling temperatures. The temperatures aren’t important, but, whenever it’s cold, all the barn doors are closed which requires me to side open/closed lots of doors to get in/out of the barn to the indoor. It’s a pain. 2 sliding doors to get out of the barn then a short walk across to the indoor and 1 more sliding door. Basically, when opening/closing, it’s 6 doors which is a lot when holding horse. Thankfully Ranger doesn’t care, but I’m not coordinated in the dark.
Anyway, enough about sliding doors.
We walked in to an entirely new course. Which was nice, but also meant I had to work. Ranger sort of “memorizes” courses and it takes him about a week to learn the strides and all that. So, the first week with a new course means I work harder (as does everyone else who rides him). Jump height doesn’t mean anything, just everything else. I don’t mind having to work harder (it’s good for me) so I kind of prefer new un-memorized Ranger. Unless I’m not into working. Unlike last week, we had the ring to ourselves (until someone joined us to practice) so it was really nice. But, do to having the ring to myself, I got to work, HARD.
On the flat, Ranger was falling in HARD to the left, his difficult direction which would be the theme for the night. I seemed to be able to fix it at the trot and then we first picked up the canter to the right. I hate cantering right first as it’s my weak direction, but I didn’t get a say. We did lots of circles because, yay, before a simple change of direction at the trot across the center (where Ranger saw a jump, got excited, then disappointed) and more canter. Then, after canter around for a couple minutes (we had a really nice, forward canter, we added in the single placed at the end of the ring (see awkwardly placed single referenced below) and cantered that on a circle a few times. Finally, we got to walk for about 2 seconds before being told to canter to out next fence. I ignored the directions to catch my breath. It’s hard to breath when it’s cold! Fine, it was only 26, but I was struggling. Normally we don’t canter that long!
So, with the new ring setup, the evil jump did not disappear. And lucky me, that was the jump we jump 1,545,346,544,353,467,456 times. And I still am convinced it’s evil.
We began with a left lead canter (theme of the struggle of the night. Not the lead, but the drift on to his shoulder) to the grey boxes to the spiky straw bale gate jump (the straw bales are fine, it’s the damn gate). Unfortunately, the turn to the first jump was a struggle for me all night. The first time through, we broke and then got the canter back but I had to then work on the landing of the in to get the 6 to the evil jump. Because, who wants to really die at the jump the hate? But, it appears that I have a talent to nail the out even when I screw up the in…
We tried this again and got slightly better, but I really struggled to turn hard when a certain someone was leaning so hard… But, it got better-ish? We then continued cantering around on our right lead (the nice lead of the night) and came back to the the same first jump off the right and did our other broken line — boxes to boxes (or maybe one of those was a gate… Who knows–you get the point). This was a 7 even though you can’t tell from my picture. This line was so much easier though the first time though we came in slowly and had to land and gallop. Oops. So. Repeat. Over and over. Until we got both lines several times. Except the last time when I completely missed the first spot of the first line, but we moved on. I was ready to quit there.
Ready to be finished with the evil spike jump, my luck did not end.
We switched from broken lines, but I continued to work on the stupid spike jump.
The GOAL was to canter left lead over the outside single and continue around to the straw bale diagonal line (straw bales to sharp spike jump) and then continue around to the blue and white single in the middle of the ring that my trainer was, up until that point, using as chair. However, it would be about 20 minutes until we made it to the single. See, the stupid line became our undoing.
The single was easy. Sometimes we even landed correctly. But, the STUPID LEANING. First time. I did something I NEVER DO. I turned too early. Who does that? Normal people. Not me. I do weird things. I am the QUEEN of Turning Too Late. So, I saw ABSOLUTELY NO SPOT. So, we launched a MASSIVE spot (thanking Ranger) and I was forced to land and ride and make up for my screw ups. We stopped there and repeat.
Take 2. Decided I HATED turning too early because, I just CANNOT do that, we fixed that by turned on time and hard (damn that leaning Ranger!) but had zero speed. The spot at the in was actually fine, but we got 7, not 6 as requested. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
There was drifting to left. What a shock.
Then, on a really unfortunate incident, we chipped so badly at the base of EVIL JUMP, I though I was going to eat the jump and die. And on a normal horse, I might have, but it’s Ranger and he doesn’t care.
So, refusing to EVER make that mistake again (seriously, I’d NEVER jump that thing again), we started over, then actually got a forward canter out of our single (never a problem, YET), cantered into our corner, used BOTH hands to steer, landed galloping forward (I was so not missing the damn spot, nailed the evil jump, was told to keep going, and promptly looked a the other outside single, then realized that wasn’t the jump was to be jumping, asked which one, then second guessed in, looked at the outside standard, and Ranger laughed in my face…
…And ducked out.
And we had to start the entire thing over again. This time, for the first time ever, we had zero pace to the outside single and chipped it. (I was tired). But, I landed, galloped (well, I felt like galloping though it was likely just a forward canter for 2 dead tired individuals) and we THANKFULLY jumped everything else perfectly. Knowing where the last jump was when I landed from the evil jump REALLY help and Ranger knew I was actually riding and didn’t try anything.
We ended there.
He got carrots.
I went home and collapsed.