Twice the Lessons, Twice the Fun

Hey gang!

I want to start out by apologizing to all of you- I’m stuck in all-day training this week and next (meaning no breaks or lunch breaks), and have had some late nights taking care of things, so I’m woefully behind on catching up with what’s going on in all y’alls lives. Don’t be surprised in two weeks when you get 14 comments from me at once. I miss you guys.

But despite the soul crusher that is 8 solid hours of training, I managed to fit in two lessons this week! I think that’s why I’m still sane. I am not made for sitting for 8 hours.

Tuesday’s lesson was at 6pm and I didn’t get released from training until 5:35, so I raced over there knowing I would be late. My barn buddy is the best human ever and groomed Addy for me so all I had to do  was throw her saddle on and vault into the tack! Seriously she has such value as a human. We had a very relaxed warmup in the outdoor ring, popped over a crossrail a couple times, then headed inside. By this point I had finally relaxed from the angst of running late and we were having a good time.

Tuesday’s course!

april_walls_course

Hokay. I’m having a little trouble remembering back to Tuesday since I’m writing this directly after my Wednesday lesson, but I’ll try. From what I can recall, the main course we worked on was 3-4-5-2b-6a. So: we start off away from home with the long approach to the brick wall. Then we come down the quarter line in a bright three, balance up the long approach to the outside vertical, and finish down the stone wall.

I won’t spend too much time on this because honestly I don’t remember the details. Oops. I do remember that we bumped the jumps up to 2’9″-3′-ish and that Addy was her usual rockstar self. I focused on sitting up straighter and deeper to the jumpers, and she was superbly adjustable. Trainer was very happy with our ride and said it was a good schooling.

Flash forward to today, which my shoddy memory has actually managed to hold on to. Trainer is out of town to attend Rolex (so lucky!), so Assistant Trainer stepped in. I’ve mentioned her in the past- I absolutely adore her. She’s no nonsense and doesn’t let anyone (horse or rider) make excuses, but is always incredibly supportive and focuses just as much on what went well as what needs fixing. So while I love my trainer, I ain’t even mad that her assistant stepped in.

Our warmup was pretty interesting- there were a whole bunch of horses in the ring so it was a bit hectic. Combined with the cooler temperatures today and gusty winds, there were a few behavior issues. Not from Addy, obviously.

One of the horses in the ring truly hates Addy, and when we got a little too close in his bubble while we were passing he proceeded to throw a hissy fit of epic proportions. That dude really holds a grudge. I felt awful that we were what set him off; I had no idea we were close enough to bug him. Turns out he hates other gray horses! AT (Assistant Trainer) hopped on him to give him a good school, and then his mom took him out of the ring. We finished warming up and started jumping!

The course was set the same as the previous day, so please refer to the same diagram for your convenience. Our first course was: 1-2a-3-4-5-6b. Up the red skinny, down the outside, up the brick wall, down the quarter line in three, up the stone wall.

What we needed to work on here was power, not speed. Addy was happy to sit back and wait to the jumps, but we needed to maintain the power as we slowed our pace so she could work with whatever distance came up. The quarter line in particular came up with some difficulty- it’s a very short turn out of the corner and the striding was a little odd. We warmed up trotting into that line in four, so it was a big open three. Or in Addy’s case, a three where we only needed to woah slightly. We used our new counter-bending tip around the corner up the stone wall and nailed it!

Then AT put the jumps up all around. Cue maniacal laughter. Our next course was: 2b-6a-3-4-5. Short and sweet. 2b was the same old vertical on the wall that we’ve done a thousand times, nothing new to see there. We held a nice comfortable pace down to the stone wall, which had been converted into a 2’9″ oxer. Then maintaining a nice steady pace up the long approach to the 3′ brick wall, and balancing out of the turn for the yellow plank to the pink oxer, which had been set somewhere between 3’3″ and 3’6″.

The last three jumps were where we ran into difficulty and had to try again. Addy tends to laser-lock on her next jump and charge it, so we tried really hard to maintain a nice steady beat up to the base of the brick wall. Then that difficult corner around to the quarter line. We did get a bit of a gappy distance to the yellow in, so I had to sit deep and hold her together so the three would be comfortable even with the oxer set high. Our second time through, we nailed it! Pretty Girl absolutely flew, it was barely a stretch for her. This is our first time jumping higher than 3′ outside of a gymnastic and it went so well!

33_oxer_april
Ohmahgah it looks so huge from this angle

Addy got lots of carrots as a reward for packing my butt around the ring and keeping such a good attitude about it. All the mares in the barn are in season, but she’s such a tank I would’ve never noticed if someone didn’t tell me. I’m the biggest fan of non-marish-mares. Love my sweet girl!

To add to the amazingness, I came home to this:

saddle_pad_monogram
Pure bliss.

Dover was having a big sale online in addition to their tent sale, so when I saw these suckers for a steal I couldn’t say no. I’m finally a proud owner of my very own monogrammed saddle pad! The trim and monogram are both in hunter green (my favorite color on Pretty Girl) and I’m seriously SO EXCITED to give it a try. #obsessed

Also in show news: …we moved it back to Saturday. After figuring out scheduling, we’re heading back to the same place we went at the end of April to do an outdoor show. We’ll warm up over a 2’9″ course and then do the 3′ division. My lesson buddy is showing too and I can’t even describe how happy I am to have a friend there to cheer on and share our successes and defeats. And manfriend is indeed on camera duty, so I should have some cool videos to share next week 🙂 A little bummed that we aren’t going to a show offering the Medal, but there’s always next time! It’s shaping up to be another fantastic weekend.

That wraps up the end of my long winded speech. Can’t wait to reconnect with all of you once this training is over and life slows down a bit!

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