After a really hard week, [seriously, this week was insanely challenging. I can’t explain how much I hate people sometimes and ice. I hate ice.] I desperately needed my Ranger lesson. I didn’t ride last week as I was sick and my trainer was in FL (not that I could have dealt with it anyway. But this week I. Just. Needed. It.
So. Happy. To. See. This. Face.
Even better, the barn was quiet [so sorry for accidentally turning off all the barn lights while someone was riding in the ring… I’m pretty sure I turned them all back on before you made it back to the barn and hopefully noticed? But it was THAT QUIET!] Just a couple of children to navigate BEFORE my lesson started. While tacking up I got to hug Ranger and otherwise act like a fool and the best part? NO ONE WAS AROUND TO SEE IT!
Anyway, the lesson. Not the best, not the worst. But, I haven’t ridden in 2 weeks. And I was wearing my newer boots because I’m an idiot and unlike my normal boots they fit, but aren’t broken in (my normal boots are insanely huge in the calf and starting to fall apart for being so big). Stiff leather (they’re older so not the super soft leather of now), COLD temperature… Yeah. Ow. So, my leg was sort of locked into place. And a certain pinto wasn’t helping matters by being extra pokey. Thanks buddy. But, it was nice just to see him again.
This describes the past week. Ice, rain, and cold. And I’ve been stuck outside in them all.
We warmed up with an insane amount of trotting where I actually did try not to run small children on small ponies over (but said children were on really cute ponies so… it was hard to want to kill them and they were just w/t). They soon left and we added in more circles and crap and worked on LEFT LEG to get a Mr. Ranger off his shoulder while we made small circles and what not. Eventually we stopped. I could have called it quits. Then we chatted about life for a while and work and quitting stuff that sucks in life and work and children and all that. Ranger fell asleep. And zen. We talked about zen. I mention Ranger is a zen moment and I was offered an extra ride this weekend for more zen so I’ll definitely take advantage of that on Sunday since the ring will be empty and my trainer will be in FL.
Marble is like Ranger. She always tries hard and all she wants to do is sleep, eat, or be with her friends and family. Or, in this case, hold my hat hostage.
Then we cantered and my ankles hurt (OMG boots) and was told he wasn’t carrying me enough (no kidding… but more leg was hard too). We added circles — so hard as we started to the left and we fall in to the left, but we had a lovely circle anyway and then were never told to stop… OMG. So. Much. Canter. Then cantering to the right. I added a circle because I thought we were forgotten about. So. Much. Canter. Again. Eventually we were allowed to stop. I was dead. So. Very. Dead. That’s what happens when pony parent walks in to talk about leasing. Ahhh. Fine. Just. Not. While. I’m. Cantering.
Before we started jumping, my trainer mentioned that Ranger’s kid who rides him the most has been working on his changes so he’s been strong on the landing of his jumps and dragging her on the landings. But, I’m stronger than she is so just be aware… and land and back a few steps
DETOUR: Once upon a time, I was the one who rode him the most… Kind of makes me sad, but this is the issue of riding lesson horses. I’ll go cry in a corner now. I’m just stressed and emotional. I’ve also not been consistently riding either…
Now, Ranger has NEVER been strong landing jumps. He’s been strong APPROACHING jumps which may lead to a strong landing, but never landing. So, now I’m armed with information I do NOT need to know. [Side note: I have seen him be strong landing with other people though just because he’s got a big head.]
So, we start with a small single and cantered in (left lead) and got a long spot. But, I rode defensively because I was given information I didn’t need. Seriously, I need to ride the horse I have, not the information I’m given. And he was behind my leg. So, it wasn’t pretty. But, we got over. And died on the landing. Because, instead of being strong, I had to add leg to keep him moving so I could even have a canter to halt from. Because, we were POKEY. Take 2. We approached at the exact same spot as before, but at least this time from an actual forward canter. Landing? The same old normal Ranger. I think we repeated this a few times. But there was not speedy Ranger.
Not enough treats. Must. Not. Move. Forward.
We moved on to the other outside single (right lead) and cantered in. This we struggle with not because we were strong on the landing, but because I struggled to get the right canter and turn early enough (what a shock…). I also struggled to pick up the canter once because we were arguing, but that’s a different story… Basically, the first time or two, I was turning too late which caused issues. We chipped terribly the second time and Ranger saved my butt. Finally, I drove him forward and got him in front of my leg and the jump became easy. Shocking… I can’t see anything when he’s behind my leg…
Once we solved this fence as a single, we added on the inside brown box line. So, we cantered right lead over the outside single and then continued to the brown boxes. This basically required that I KEEP HIM MOVING and look and turn early WITH BOTH HANDS, land and move up for the 6. Thankfully, I did all of this and it was easy. A couple lessons ago, we ducked out of the first fence of the line and each time I approach it now I have flashbacks… PTSD for the win. Not an issue as long as I steer. It’s a super awkward turn…
From here we finished with a course. Instead of cantered right lead DOWN the outside single, we cantered left lead UP that jump (away from the gate). Then we cantered down our straw bale jump down the diagonal (past the evil boogey spike jump that my trainer was nice enough not to make me jump). The goal was to use the corner and then keep leg on for the turn to go to the inside brown box line and then around down our outside single that I started the night jumping.
Overall, I like jumping the outside single the other direction. It’s MUCH easier. The straw bales were perfect–in that I could jump them nicer. And I could stop my recap there. Except my course didn’t end there. Unfortunately, while my turn was nice and I even kept a nice canter, I forgot to turn with BOTH HANDS DAMNIT and as a result, the spot I saw and my trainer saw, didn’t exactly happen and we fizzled out a bit (if I added a bit more leg, that might have helped but I NEEDED TO REMEMBER TO ALWAYS TURN WITH 2 HANDS). We still jumped our in, but it wasn’t lovely (it wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t nice either). I then had to land and work, but we got the 6 because I can fix a line like no one else and the out was gorgeous. I really need better talents. Then our outside single was possible our nicest jump of the night. So, we ended there.
Needless to say, Ranger did not get strong once. Whether it was because he was pokey or because he just doesn’t get strong with me, I don’t know, but once I stopped worrying about extra information (other than the psychological impact), I rode with contact, but not excessive contact? He had pleasure class o/f contact…
How I torture Ranger after lessons when no one is in the barn…
After all his hard work, he was rewarded with treats. Then he proceeded to attack me for treats when I didn’t dispense them fast enough. My coat is covered with Ranger slobber. And then I tried to take pictures. He did NOT appreciate that. He found more treats in my pocket and tried to eat my pocket for withholding… My coat will never be the same…