I never quite figured out how to write about my last lesson and then instead, I wrote about all this other drama.
Long story short, I never quite clicked with Ranger 2 weeks ago. It had been a few weeks and everything felt off and I just was really hard on myself the entire lesson. I rode with a mother-daughter duo and they were great and commented (separately) after the lesson that they’d never seen Ranger so put together or go so well, but I just never on that lesson. Towards the end we sort of got it together, but I couldn’t really keep him packaged, moving from behind, AND not get my hands overly involved… I never felt like I got that bouncy canter either… So, I was either too slow or too fast. And then I never recapped.
I had the opportunity to ride over that weekend and used my water bottle and phone for some media so I’ll try put that in throughout this post even though it has nothing to do with this week’s lesson…
We were reunited with Mikey for this week’s lesson. I always enjoy riding with Mikey as we tend jump a little more AND get much needed breaks. In addition, I’m not complaining, we ARE challenged more.
We started off with a lot of time on the flat. Just trotting around, using the ring, remember (me) not to look too far ahead. I sort of have this problem where I twist my head/upper body trying to look too far ahead sometimes? So, I focused on trying to focus just between Ranger’s ears. Then we did a whole hell of a lot of sitting trot to get me straight. It appears when I DON’T fight it? I’m fine. When I do? hahaha… To the right, sitting trot wasn’t an issue, the left? Took me a while to get there even after a really nice sit trot the other way. One day I’ll learn. Cantering right was decent and I managed to package him up pretty quickly. Found pace, then worked on bending, impulsion, and all of that to make sure impulsion is coming from behind. Of course, every time I add bend, hand, etc., Ranger takes it as a cue to slow, but we’re getting there and I’m able to add pace more quickly/directly. The left was a little better, but more of the same.
We started off with a figure 8 of sorts, inside single gate around to the bending/broken line in a forward 7 (we did this continuously ~4x). The gate was fine the first 3 times, though around the corner, approaching it, Ranger had the habit of trying to “drop and drag” which forced me around the corner to do some adjustments. As for the bending line, I was turning a bit late for the in which made the line harder as Ranger doesn’t exactly bend well — he’s about as flexible as a 2×4… On the 4th time through, Ranger suddenly required NO adjustment around the corner and I stopped riding (he also had been getting a little… strong? approaching the single and I had been checking to ensure that he didn’t drag me to the fence). As a result? Well, we took a superman flyer over the inside single… Who knew? Lol. After a halt and back, we restarted, I rode, and we rode to a respectable distance WITHOUT dragging me, and proceeded to once again, screw up the bending line (it was fine, but I turned late again and made more work for myself).
After a quick break, we moved on to the following course of bending lines: straw bales to out of the outside line (7) around to the plain vertical to the in of the outside line jumped backwards (forward 7).
And this is how I nearly impaled myself on a fake tree and Ranger saved my butt.
You see, Ranger had springs. Serious springs. We jumped the first fence and instead of steering to the second fence, I decided to adjust my stirrup. Then I was approaching the fence I thought, shit, I think I need to go around. Let’s go to the right. No! To the left. No, that’s the standard! Then, Ranger, bless his heart, just said, “why don’t we just go over, you idiot?!”
So, despite me not steering, just carted my butt over a 2’9″ vertical… See, Ranger has a LOT of tricks (stopping is NOT one of them thankfully). The main one? Going around fences when you don’t steer. And here he saved my ass. Why? I have no clue. But, last night? That horse just took care of me… All the cookies in the world.
So, we started over, I kept my leg on, and we did the course with out ANY issue. Lol. No fear of impalement on second attempt. 3rd attempt? That 7 became a 6 and SPRINGS started doing the horse show strides.. he was feeling good. We had to hold for the 7 for our second line. We had power.
We end with the following course: straw bales jumped the opposite direction (away from the out of the outside line) around to the outside line, around to our original bending/broken line (the out had gone up to some big oxer… to which I was asked if I was comfortable jumping it or if I wanted to stick with my other line… I decided to try), to the straw bale to the out of the outside line to end. Before I started, my trainer’s daughter asked if Ranger could jump that high. The answer was yes, but it made me laugh. Obviously he doesn’t jump high with anyone other than me and rarely jumps the large oxers. It’s funny though. 2’9″ now looks normal and while the oxer looked larger, cantering up to it, it didn’t look that impressive.
So, the course started off well enough, the straw bale jump was easy, though our change after was slow which made the approach to the line feel less smooth than I’d like, but it was fine. The line was good, but I did have to hold as Ranger was jumping the crap out of everything and covering ground like I’ve never felt. Then FINALLY remembered to look and turn a little earlier to that stupid line and we nailed that turn and line (though I had to remind him we weren’t leaving out a stride on a going line) to the oxer — which Ranger flew over because he was in SUPERHORSE mode and continued to the final bending line — again moving up for the 6 because why hold?
Seriously, this horse. He’s amazing! I made the decision not to try anything again because I couldn’t ask for more. Was I perfect? No. But he had springs and gave 1000% and why try and beat that? All the cookies in the word.