Hi guys! I pinky promise, my training is over at the end of this week and then I can return to my regularly scheduled programming of commenting “woohoo!” on all of your posts. Rest assured that I’m sending you mental “woohoo’s” at this very moment.
So I had a crazy horse lady moment at work yesterday- someone mentioned that sneakers can get expensive, over $100 and I basically had a stroke. How can people pay that much for shoes just to run in?!?! Says the girl eying the $800 field boots. Oops.
Anywho, on to the lesson! Due to the dust, we warmed up in the indoor arena last night. I don’t mind that- we had all the doors open so there was a nice crossbreeze, and Addy seems to be more comfortable on the footing in there. Some minor work without stirrups (D’arcy, if you’re reading this please know that if you start up a conversation with Trainer while we’re posting without stirrups again, I will burst into tears) and a bunch of circles and serpentines to get us loosened up and moving.
Onwards to the canter. And Addy was soft, and balanced, and responsive, and downright slow. What?! DragonMare loping around on a soft rein?? No need to constantly half-halt?? Collecting with little effort even after a lengthening?? It was so civilized!! She hadn’t been ridden since the show, so I’m not sure if it was the mini-vacation or the almost 24-hour turnout she’s been getting lately, but she was one happy camper. Whatever the reason is, she was an absolute pleasure to ride. We still giraffe-d around during our canter-trot transitions, but there was much less wrestling going on. Love it! I couldn’t believe this was the same sassy elephant that dragged me around the show ring on Saturday.
On to the jumping. Stick with me folks, because this one is a little confusing. We changed up our courses a couple times and approached almost every fence from both sides and I was at a bit of a loss on how best to label. I’ll do my best to explain as we go along.
First thing we warmed up over g-f: trotting in to the gray vertical slightly broken to the stone wall. Instead of galloping to try 3, Addy was very happy to sit and wait for the 4! I made sure to release very generously so she would know how happy I was about her softness.
Once we did that a couple times to get ourselves nice and straight on the approach, we built up our first course: c-B-A-C-D. Long approach up to the yellow plank, over the black vertical on the wall, then come back to trot during the rollback over the green rolltop, then the diagonal line in 3 strides.
This was tricky! The long approach was pretty comfortable since we sliced in between jumps D and F, but then we wanted to get a nice balanced distance to B. Then it was a bit of a struggle to come back to a trot over the rolltop, and we had to leg up out of the corner to approach the line, then half halt to fit the comfortable 3 in. We ended up doing the diagonal line again since we picked up a bit too much steam and I half-halted much too weakly in the middle. Then I tried just B-A again so I could get a more powerful packaged canter to the vertical and watch my track around to the rolltop.
Next course! C-D-F-c-a-b. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting at least one fence at the beginning of this course or mixing something up here, but whatever. I could be making this whole thing up, there’s no video evidence to prove me wrong. Cue evil laugh.
So the comfortable diagonal line in three, then we had to balance hard around the turn to the stone wall. We ended up slicing this a bit so we could get a nice straight track to the yellow plank instead of bending out- it was tight and we had to woah pretty hard to fit in the strides, but I liked the more direct track for us. Then around the corner to the rolltop, but instead of going into the corner we turned almost down the center-line for the approach. Opening rein to roll back over the black vertical on the wall.
Yeah, we had to try that rollback again. I held way too much inside rein and inside leg, and we got the weirdest approach to that black- almost trotting on the approach because she was so confused about where we were heading. I wasn’t prepared for her to turn so tightly so we basically jumped into the wall. On our next try I held a much stronger outside leg and outside rein to keep her straight through the turn, and legged up HARD when we approached the vertical so she would have the power to hop over it.
Next course! E-D-F-G-C-D. Surprisingly good. Up the red outside vertical, rollback over the pink vertical, then canter in to the stone wall and trot out the gray vertical, ending on the diagonal line.
A couple odd questions here: tight rollback turn and then a canter-in-trot-out line! I was really happy with that rollback, she listened really well to where I placed her on that track. Then I sat up and packaged her up really hard so we had a teeny-tiny bouncy canter going into the line. When we landed, I sat down and asked for the trot, and Addy was so super confused. Trotting in the middle of a line?! There’s something in between cantering and halting??! She was not planning on jumping the vertical out since she thought I was asking her to stop, but I managed to keep a strong leg on and boot her off the ground. Then leg up around the corner and balance down the diagonal line, which rode the same.
Such a fun lesson!! Most of the jumps stayed pretty small, but jumps B D and E were probably around 2’9″ish. The entire time, Addy stayed soft and responsive and listened so well to my leg- I think doing these more technical courses gives her something to pay attention to. Those hunter courses are just boring to her 😉 There were only three of us in the lesson including Assistant Trainer and my lesson/show-buddy, so I felt like we were able to really dig in and work hard on what we need to fix. My auto release came in super handy around these tight rollbacks- I was able to open my inside hand while we were still in the air so we could land already turning. I’m glad that I’m finally holding my leg and core more tightly so I have more options on “talking” to Addy during our rides. I’m hoping that if I can stay soft and relaxed, Pretty Girl will give me rides like this all the time!
I also wore my awesome rust-ish breeches, so those look super cool. I’ve got a breeches review coming up once things slow down a bit, so stay tuned for that!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go squeal over pictures of my niece. She gets more and more perfect every day.