First off, just want to thank everyone for the kind comments. I appreciate them all more than I can say.
I also appreciate this thing. Because, Ranger cures all.
But, unlike last week’s perfect lesson, this week’s was decidedly NOT perfect. It was, well, hard.
But, hard means brain engagement which means that I can’t think or dwell on life. WHICH is not a bad thing. At all. So, yay?!
We started off with our typical basic warm up. Trotting, trot circles, all of that. Then my trainer decided she didn’t like my post. So, we did the stupid “up, up, down” exercise where you rise for 2 beats, sit for one to ensure that you are sitting softly and really controlling every beat of the trot. Yeah. It sucks and you have to think constantly or it’s impossible. And I’m thinking, “riding all these years and I can’t post? WTF?” But, I managed to forget thinking about life so that was a success… Then, the bigger struggle came. Posting normally. COMPLETELY impossible. After finding the “up, up, down” rhythm, it’s impossible to post normally. Just saying. Ugh. Finally managed to post again.
Cantering wise, we picked up a lovely quiet and almost dead canter. But, as I was feeling that way, I just went for it and enjoyed the ride. I’m pretty sure we started with the right lead. Then, at some point, we cut through the center for our right to left lead change. I did need to remember to actually move from a dead canter to a real canter in order to get the change, but being outside, Ranger does the change without anything but a slight weight shift and a tiny kick. I don’t know if it’s just that they’re easy for him now or if it’s being outside… left lead canter was more of the same. We went back to being dead until it was time to do our flying change. Easy again. Then we walked. Because he is perfection.
We started off cantering into (left lead) the white outside single towards the road turning in the air BEFORE the wall of jumps and continuing around to the other outside single. The picture below shows the basic placement of jumps (the plain brown rails/standards has moved slightly so that you land facing the gate) though the super tiny jumps are actual jumps). First time through the turn was fine, but I continued turning rather than staying out once I got towards the second jump, if that makes sense? Second time, significantly better.
Next, we kept the first jump the same, but instead of turning to the second outside single, but we instead made the tight turn to the brown boxes/blue and white standards and continued around to the brown plain rail/standard jump heading to the in gate (which is why the picture above isn’t quite accurate). Going over the first fence, I sort of forgot to turn, so Ranger assumed (incorrectly) that we going straight. He listened (because he is a saint) and turned anyway, executing a perfect full change even though we almost died and barely escaped the green tree and made it over the brown boxes and the around to the plain rails nicely (halting on the landing).
We did that again, making sure we were to actually NOT DIE. But, the plan was to continue around from the brown rails to the out of the inside line (blue and white standards. It went fine.
Next time through, we continued on (building blocks for brains like mine that don’t work… I think at one point the words “are you insane?” came out of my mouth) after the out of the inside line around to the log jump to the second tree jump as a broken line. Except, this time we chipped the first jump and the entire thing was super ugly as I never really got a nice rhythm. I pulled hard over the brown rails and but could NOT land on the correct lead. Despite this, we continued to the out of the line without a simple change and got a crappy spot. The log to the tree though was nice.
Next, we rode to the SAME SPOT of the single (SAINT HORSE) and then either stopped or continued to the brown before starting over… I can’t remember. Either way, we were eventually told to reset.
At some point, we rode our final course. We FINALLY managed a nice enough (all my first courses had nice first jumps and then I lost it? who knows…) first jump, an OK second jump) and FINALLY nailed the lead over the brown rails!!! With an established rhythm, we were fine to the blue and white and the rest of the course was easy. Actually, even when the course sucked, the last 2 jumps were always easy…
We ended there, thank goodness. Ranger was tired. I was tired. And why risk having to do more? Ranger saved my butt more times than should have been necessary with that first jump… Or that blue and white jump thanks to be screwing up the lead out of the brown rails…
We ended the evening with a leisurely walk around the field. I enjoyed. Ranger? Who knows. He wanted his treats, but I’d like to think he had fun. Though I’m sure he’d have appreciated the shorter route, not the long one I took…
Stuffed with treats, he finally got to join his friends.
Saint horse, you cure everything.