So I realized that I didn’t give a lesson review last week (I was busy hopping on a plane to RI and it got lost amidst the many festivities happening). I’ll briefly say that we did some fairly simple courses with a couple tough turns, and that Addy was a very good girl. Extremely heavy and barreling around without listening very carefully (we almost ran over my trainer because Addy disagreed with what jump we should be heading to), but she was honest and jumped everything from all sorts of angles.
On to this week! First of all, I got myself some fancypants and a new bonnet for Addy, so I was pretty psyched about looking cool. I’m a big fan of “dressing up” a little bit for lessons, I always feel like I ride better when I’ve put effort into my appearance.
Once I was fully satisfied in how cool we looked, I hopped on and started warming up. Addy was good for this- she just got new shoes so I was feeling much better about the state of her feet. They’re just growing so fast these days! All that green grass. Our warmup was nothing special, just WTC with some extensions and collections. Addy was nice and quiet for this.
Aaaand then we started jumping. The quiet did not last. Here’s how the jumps were set up:
We warmed up over 3 as a crossrail a couple times, and Addy realized that OMG IT’S TIME TO JUMP THIS IS SO EXCITING I’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE EVAR. Much excitement. Our consistent note from Trainer was that “there’s one more step in there, hold to the base,” which was definitely a struggle. Homegirl was launching from downtown. But we did get a couple nice ones in there.
We then slowly built up the gymnastic. At first, it was just the first crossrail and the other two were ground poles set at one stride each. Addy being a snorty unicorn, decided that she would gazelle-leap over the crossrail, bounce over the next ground pole instead of cantering a stride, and then leap the final ground pole. Because, you know, that felt right. I did eventually get her to trot in marginally more quietly and put the correct striding in.
Then the second jump went up to a vertical and we did that a couple times, and then finally put the final jump to a crossrail. That first one-stride was set very short and we kept coming up on it too hard, so my big focus was getting a super slow backwards trot to the first fence. This was kinda hit-or-miss, but it did get better over the course of the lesson.
We then put the last jump up to a nice wide oxer (I know the diagram is backwards, so sue me) and continued through that way a couple times. Once she was going through the grid in a more civilized manner, I shifted my focus to staying straight down to the end of the ring so that we didn’t cut in our turn.
This was put to the test by the following: up the grid (1A-1B-1C), then turn right at the end and do a circle down at that end of the ring, then come down the outside vertical (2), then come back to a trot and go back up the grid, turn left, circle, and come down the other outside vertical (3).
By this point we had the grid pretty much down, but adding the outside verticals just stoked Addy’s internal fire. Her zest. Her zeal. Her pep. We came up through the grid nicely, got a surprisingly decent canter circle, then came to a nice quiet distance to 2. And then GOT REALLY EXCITED LET’S GO WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME TO TROT WOMAN. I sure as hell made her trot into the grid, but we were veering all over like a drunken sailor. Canter circle to the left was a little less pretty and we ended up galloping up to a longish distance to 3. We then proceeded to prance around the ring like a carousel horse instead of sitting quietly and waiting our next turn.
But we tried again- got back to trot a little more sedately after the outside vertical, held the canter a little more nicely in both directions, and fit that last step in to the last vertical. It wasn’t pretty, but homegirl needs to learn to love the base instead of blasting through my aids and picking her own distance. I was very happy to end on that good note of her listening to me.
All in all, not a great lesson. I didn’t really bring my A game, and Addy wasn’t inclined to be charitable. Nothing particularly bad or dangerous in any way, just not super rideable. I’m thinking that I may start using the Pelham more consistently if we’ll be jumping; it’ll be harder for her to lean on that and drag me around.
That being said- while this has been my worst lesson in a while, we still managed to hop around all the jumps the way we were supposed to, we were safe, and I still had those moments of joy in the air with my girl. I’m extremely lucky that this counts as a “bad” lesson for me.
What happened in your last “bad” lesson and how did you work through it?