I alluded in my last lesson recap that I had a terrible ride on Nay Nay last Wednesday. He had energy, I had no brakes, and honestly, I just couldn’t control him. We are making some changes so the ride wasn’t entirely surprising, but it was still… demoralizing.
I took a lesson on Friday hoping to have that same horse so that I could learn to ride him, or at least get the tools to ride him. And luckily that same horse showed up.
The thing is, Nay Nay doesn’t do anything, but at the same time, it’s still not the horse I’ve been riding. And then I get tense which doesn’t help. So… Yeah. On Friday, when we picked up the trot? We went flying forward. Not the lovey puttering trot we’ve had as of late. New rule #1: if he’s fast? pull back immediately, not after 10 strides. Rule 2: start on a small circle. So, after it took me 13 strides to pull him up, we moved to a small circle and worked there for a while, woahing every other stride for a while, then every 3 strides, then every four strides. As he listened, we expanded the circle.
To the right, I started with short reins which helped and we quickly were able to move our circle around different parts of the ring, but, rule 3: be strategic and clear. Also, his lack of bend to the right worked in my favor as I also worked the inside rein to ask him to soften his neck. Honestly, the right is hard and explosions didn’t happen. We made our way through different parts of the ring and it was actually nice.
After trotting, we… cantered. Rule #4: ALWAYS have a plan. The goal with the canter was to stay at the far end of the ring and not pass any jumps. Keep my reins short, and keep him slow. So, I picked up the canter and immediately got yelled at that I needed to shorten my reins and pull my left (?) rein and all sorts of stuff. Rule #5: having a plan isn’t good enough, you must FOLLOW THE PLAN. Eventually, we got the canter figured out and it was slow and nice. We also discovered I am pathetic and don’t know my left from my right, but that’s a post for another day.
The right lead? We started off with the correct length rein though picked up the wrong lead (which no one but me cared about). On a circle though, it’s HARD. That said, he was slow, responsive, and VERY GOOD. Eventually we changed the lead and started expanding the circle till we got around 2/3 of the ring. He was great! We ended with picking back up the left lead canter just to prove I could do it without antics. Done.
So my homework was to practice all of this. And to lunge before I rode in case he needed to get energy/anxiety out pre-ride. Way easier to do that on the line (or running around the indoor) vs with a rider. I was given the rules and the plan, I just needed to stick with it.
I went out Sunday with my plan. I put him on the line and he seemed slow, but…
I got on and… I needed to kick. Kicking wasn’t part of the game plan. WTF horse. To keep him trotting, I needed to kick.
I’m set for the horse I’ve had the last to rides and instead, I have “please kick to make me move forward”?!?!?!?!
I mean, he was fabulous. 100% fabulous. The best ride I have ever had on him. I tried to follow the plan as best I could (meaningful circles, deliberate track around the ring, etc.) but???? Who was this horse? We even popped over a jump because why not?
So, that’s where we’re at. Lesson later today. I don’t know who I’ll be riding. I’m going to lunge because…