First off, thank you all for your comments on my post about breeches! I will definitely be taking all of your input into consideration when I go shopping later this week. But we have more important things to talk about:
Guess who finally got to ride again? (Hint: it was me.) And guess who got to ride… in a t-shirt?
After two weeks of below freezing temperatures, I was so happy for some warmth yesterday! (I honestly just don’t even want to talk about the past two weeks. It was horrible.) And I’m so glad the weather (and lack of anyone going to the emergency room, which was why I didn’t lesson last week) finally worked out and I was able to get on a horse!
For having had three weeks off, I was actually really happy with my lesson. Not bad at all!
We started off with a lot of trot work to warm up. Posting trot, sitting trot, two point trot… we skipped no stirrups posting though, because Trainer could see (rightfully) that my muscles have kind of gone away again! xD The best part was circles – the ring was freshly dragged so I could see all my tracks, and the very first trot circle I did in the middle of the ring was perfect.
The angle makes it look a little bit lopsided but IT WAS PERFECT, TRUST ME. Trainer actually had me stop so she could take a picture of it! We also worked on spiralling in and out on the circle, which I thought went really well too.
After about 10-15 minutes of trot work (there was a short walk break in the middle for me to get some water), we moved on to cantering. As always we do minimal canter work on Mini – so, keeping on the theme of circles, I started cantering on the circle in the middle of the ring and then went out to canter once around the ring. The first time off the left lead was not particularly pretty, but once I figured out how to recollect Mini for the circle at the canter the other direction was wonderful.
Then it was on to jumping!
Our warmup jumps were a couple of crossrails and low planks, practicing rollback type turns. We did a lot of trot-in, canter out, and I continued to do that for the rest of the lesson. The warmups were pretty easy and there were no real issues. Then it was on to a course!
Well, mini-course, anyway. Four jumps, but I’m okay with that. It’s nice not to have to remember long stuff! xD
The first ride through was really great until the very last fence, the rainbow wishing well (which we got a horrible distance to due to my too-late half halting and knocked over completely). But all the other fences were really beautiful!
(Apologies for the shitty quality; it happens.)
The blue star was just kind of thrown in; it was bigger than the rest of the jumps but Trainer basically said “you okay with it?” and I said “sure why not” and it ended up being really great! I mentioned to her how it’s harder for me to see distances to smaller verticals as opposed to taller oxers with fill (see: my distance to the rainbow wishing well vs my distance to the star) and she mentioned that that’s one of the reasons they always include upright plank fences in the big jumper classes – because it’s harder to see!
We talked a lot about keeping my hands up and back to help control Mini. She does that kind of carriage horse thing where she gets very low and round and hangs off of your hands, and I have to remember not to let her do that.
With that in mind, and a better understanding of how everything would ride, we went back through:
Much better! I’m still getting a big distance to the star – and I continued to get a long distance to it – but I pretty much always go for the longer distance, given a choice. After a couple more times through the course, Trainer had me take the star by itself, working on getting a nicer distance. The first time, off the right, was probably the longest of the day, but the second time, off the left, was very quiet and pretty deep as well, although a very safe deep for sure. We quit on that, since we had accomplished what Trainer wanted me to (a not-huge distance xD). She pointed out that I have a tendency to run at jumps a lot, which is very true. I don’t think it’s uncontrolled – I know exactly where that horse is going to take off four or five strides out and I know it’s going to be bigger – it’s just that I like it that way; I’m more comfortable off a longer distance than a shorter one (I prefer to say, “take off NOW!” at a long spot rather than risk falling on my horse’s neck at a short one). But I absolutely do need to work on getting a distance that is neither long nor short, and working on balancing no matter what distance I get.
After a long walk to cool out Mini got sponged down over her sweat marks and I went home. I actually started to work on this lesson report last night but I was too tired to finish (oops). But I was so happy to be riding again! And I’m going to start hacking horses at work this week, too, so there will be even more opportunities to ride.
Do y’all have any suggestions for working on my love affair with long spots? Let me know!