My Horse is a Prince and My Life is a Lie

We’ll start out with the part where my horse is a prince and get to the lying later on.

We had our first lesson of the new year! I hadn’t ridden in almost 2 weeks (one brief hack in there doesn’t reeeeally count), but one of our junior riders flatted Frankie around for me while I was out of town. 10/10, would recommend barn rat usage to all people. So the only one feeling flabby and out of shape after the holidays was me!

Naturally, Trainer had me do a decent amount of no-stirrup work. She said “sorry” at first, but I told her to take that back, we both knew she wasn’t sorry. Lots of circles and changing rein and changing the bend helped keep my mind off that oh-so-pleasant burning sensation in my legs and core.

We also played around more with our shoulder-in which has developed very nicely, and then worked on that leg yield exercise I told you about before, where we leg yield diagonally down the long side. I’ll wait here if you want to review the professional diagram I made of that.

This exercise has come a long way! I’ve been able to keep his haunch in off the wall and give little corrections to keep his body straight. I still have to exaggerate my aids a bit, but they get a reaction more crisply and more quickly. My homework is to continue working on our lateral work and get that shoulder and haunch more precisely where I want them. We’re really happy with how well Frankie is retaining and progressing with these movements- he may be solid bone between the ears, but he truly is supremely trainable and wants to please.

No crazy canter exercises in this lesson, just a couple large-ish circles and extension-collection exercises to get us tuned in and listening. He felt absolutely fantastic in his canter work- up and light in the bridle, round over his back, listening well. We kicked it up into a hand-gallop for those extensions but he still came right back to collect. Good pony!

We warmed up over a crossrail end jump a few times going to the right….and every single time we landed the left lead, no matter how strongly I asked for the right in the air. So we cantered it and angled it to ask even harder for the lead, then went back and trotted it again. Bam. Right lead. He just needed a little louder message on that one. Of course, he then proceeded to land the right lead after EVERY jump for the next 5 minutes, but we’re working on it.

We built up our course in pieces, here’s the diagram:


The first exercise was trot in 1, canter out 2 in a bright five strides. Not much of a story here- we had to be nice and forward to the first jump in order to kick up for the five.

Next was 3-4-5: trot in the end jump, hard left for the yellow, then s-turn to the corner vertical in a balancing 5. The key was looking over 3 and leading with that left rein to get us looking where we were going, and then holding out and shaping to make 4-5 fit in more evenly.

Next we did 6-7-8: canter up the quarter line, bend out in a waiting 5, then down the single gate. The five was a little tight but not terrible when this exercise was done alone, but it got much tighter when this was at the end of the course. Single gate was….a single gate. Not much to say there.

Then the jumps went up and we put it all together! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Corner vertical bending up the outside in a balancing five (now cantering in), then immediate left over the end jump, hard left over the yellow oxer, s-turn out back over the corner vertical in a shaped five, immediate turn up the quarter line oxer, bending out in a collected five, and ending down the single gate.

Overall, I was very happy with how this rode. We were able to get a nice conservative distance to one, which set us up to rock back for the five. The turn to the end jump came up fairly easily, and once I remembered to look where I was going and start the turn over the jump, the yellow oxer came up nicely too. We shaped out for the five and jumped the left side of 5 to give us a little extra room to get to the quarter line, and sat back for the bending line. And then the single gate continued to just be a single gate. Whatevs.

We did end up doing 4-5-6-7 one more time to practice that turn from the corner to the quarter line- once I got back with my shoulders and sat my butt in the saddle like ze Germans this rode up really powerfully and I could feel Francis jumping the heck out of that green oxer. Of course then I was excited and galloped out in four, but we made it work.

Overall, a fantastic lesson to kick off 2017! We did discuss bumping up to a slow twist- not because we want to slow Frankie down, but because we want a titch more responsiveness for those turns. Now that my legs are stronger and Frankie has developed some of that jumper-fiery-fitness, we’re going to play around so I can be lighter with my hands.

Now on to the whole “my life is a lie” part of the story. As I finished up my lesson, the following conversation ensued:

Me: Thank you so much for a great start to the year! And thank you for not putting the jumps up too high, I’m glad you’re easing me in after the break.
Trainer: … realize part of that course was 3’6″, right? You really have no idea how big jumps are, do you?
Me: HAH awesome. Then props to me for not being intimidated by 3’6″. Big progress! Less than a year ago, 3’6″ was the biggest I had EVER jumped, and even that was only once or twice.
Trainer: And look at you now, jumping 4′!
Me: ….you said 3’9″.
Trainer: Well the course overall was set to 3’9″, but some of those jumps were 4′.

So I officially quit. I give up. I completely give up on knowing how big the jumps are. From now on, I will no longer even attempt to estimate what we’re jumping unless we are at a show and someone officially tells me what the deal is. Because clearly I have no earthly idea what’s going on.

Womp womp. Extra big pats for pony for not even blinking and dealing with my ammy mistakes every day ❤

We have another lesson this weekend where Trainer said she would jack the jumps up, and all I want in this world is to get some media from it. Private lessons are great, but it means I haven’t been able to get pics/videos of our rides in over a month and I’d love to be able to review our progress! Maybe I can coerce a barn rat….

My question for you today: How do you get media of your riding when you’re the only one in the ring? I need your tricks!

17 thoughts on “My Horse is a Prince and My Life is a Lie

  1. Allison Stitzinger 01/04/2017 / 9:51 am

    #1 I’m pretty sure if I pointed my pony at a 4′ fence he would duck and run under it. #2 You and Frankie are badass. #3 Sometimes my trainer will take video for me (I don’t even have to ask her!) but otherwise I either am stuck sitting my phone on a wall/fencepost or bribing a friend/my husband to video for me.


    • hellomylivia 01/04/2017 / 11:54 am

      #1 hehe Frankie is an itsy bit taller than the WonderPony 😉 #2 All Frankie. Seriously all him. #3 I need to start breaking out the bribes!!!


  2. Avery 01/04/2017 / 10:03 am

    use a barn rat. I have no media because I have nothing!


  3. Avery 01/04/2017 / 10:04 am

    in the near future I might put up my phone somewhere and just hit record.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hellomylivia 01/04/2017 / 11:56 am

      Yeah when the jumps go up I prefer to have my trainer fully watching so she can tell if things are about to go south and yell out corrections haha. Barn rats 4ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. SprinklerBandits 01/04/2017 / 11:46 am

    So fun to have a horse where you don’t need to know the fence heights because they’re going to take care of you regardless. 🙂


    • hellomylivia 01/04/2017 / 11:56 am

      I literally cry about this sometimes haha. Crazy grateful to have such a packer ❤


  5. carey 01/04/2017 / 2:44 pm

    I “invite friends to watch” my lesson and thrust a camera into their hands as we walk into the arena.


    • hellomylivia 01/04/2017 / 3:54 pm

      Ah, the old bait ‘n switch. Brainstorming who I can convince….


  6. Tracy - Fly On Over 01/04/2017 / 4:54 pm

    I’m the WORST at knowing fence height. I have “small” “normal” and “HUGE” LOL


    • hellomylivia 01/05/2017 / 1:22 pm

      Haha I’m gonna need to just use that system from now on


  7. Monica V 01/05/2017 / 9:22 am

    Force someone to video for you, for the love of god. Especially because 4′ is like, nothing for you guys. #oookillem


    • hellomylivia 01/05/2017 / 1:23 pm

      Come here and help me achieve my dreams of making Frankie internet famous


  8. Stacie Seidman 01/05/2017 / 10:58 pm

    I wedge my iphone in the fence post and just regard ridiculously long video. Then grab screen shots or clips from that.


    • hellomylivia 01/06/2017 / 9:21 am

      That’s def something I’ve considered, I need to find the best viewing place in the ring to put the phone!


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