I FINALLY had a lesson Thursday after 2 lesson free weeks. First I was away on a much needed vacation (where I spent the week covered with ice packs barely able to walk because of an allergic reaction to some sort of biting/stinging creature that took me 14 days to recover from — not seeking medical attention was not a good idea but I’m also allergic to prednisone). Then trainer was away at pony finals. I did ride Ranger (Dr. Ranger in case anyone asks) while she was away though it was insanely hot. But FINALLY a lesson.
But, it was crazy humid. Seriously, I almost died. I wanted to pass out several times during my lesson. And I’ve lost just about all strength in my right leg thanks to stinging injury… We got on early and the previous lesson was running late. So I took a nap on Ranger while the cantered for a bit before I was advised to start trotting (sorry, napping was a better idea). Thankfully, Ranger came to play and we had a nice forward trot and, at least on the left rein, incorporated some nice bending. And, because there is nothing more you want to do when your horse is moving forward, we also decided to add in some sitting trot circles… Ugh. To the right, nothing was as easy. As I mention, I have less than NO right leg and Ranger does not like to bend to the right. I am helped by the fact that I am the only person that can get him to bend (we worked a lot on bending last week when my leg was in worse condition). Eventually we walked, other rider worked on her changes then it was time to canter.
Because I’m an idiot, I decided to pick up the left lead first. Our easy direction. At this point I was already exhausted. Humidity was killing me. I really need to work on the hard stuff (right lead) first. Instead, we cantered for what seemed like an eternity: circling, lengthening, etc. before we finally changed direction. To the right, the balance was not there. I could feel my legs shaking from the start and no amount of right leg plus hand could get his head where I wanted it. Of course, my outside hand started becoming ineffective too so there’s that. But, we had a moment where the balance came suddenly. While our trot circles suck, right lead canter circles don’t. And suddenly Ranger was round, bending, and balanced. So, at the canter, I need to remember to circle early, balance, and then work down the sides until I can achieve that balance with him elsewhere. Part of it is that he’s a lesson horse that no one else does any of this, but still…
(at this point I downed my entire bottle of water and proceeded to die while the other rider started jumping before we joined in)
The exercise was to trot into the outside line and canter out in the 6 (I think… It’s been a few days). First time through we got a 7 as we just had no momentum into the in of the line and had to land and work. After that, realizing that the trot we needed was almost a canter but still a trot (basically forward with energy–these weren’t tiny fences though obviously not massive either), it worked. We did this several more times until no more thinking was required. The other horse did one more fence and left the ring (Ranger was less than impressed, but was joined by another horse which softened the blow).
Next we cantered into our inside single and were to go around to the log jump and then back to the outside line. Except, nope. Fail. The single was fine, the single was great actually. We moved up to a gorgeous spot. The log though. Drive by. First drive by in a while. It’s a hard approach as you have to go by the out of the outside line and turn to the log there (and the log is a skinny). But, being that you’re already cantering down the quarter line… So we reapproached, this time I used twice as much leg and hand and sat back and Ranger grabbed the bit, gave me the middle finger, and laughed in my face. My shoulder still aches from that one. So I got angry back, pulled up, added leg, and at least did quite let him pass it even though we had no change of getting over it. At that moment, Ranger realize I wasn’t once of those little kids he gets to drag around. With a more conservative approach, a couple tug, tugs, we got over the damn jump. Then we did the whole thing twice. The first time was decent. The second time we moved up to everything and called it a night. Sometimes you just don’t want to mess with a good thing.