Tuesday, May 6, 2014

*violently sighs*

In my opinion, the worst lessons are those where you ride very nicely on the flat but then screw up everything over fences. You get so excited, you're so happy to jump, and then you fail miserably. Nothing goes right, or left, or even up or down; everything just kind of sinks into a deep, dark pit of Hell, and you're left sitting there, feeling like crap and wondering why you chose to immerse yourself into one of the most expensive, time consuming, and physically demanding sports out there.

But I did choose it, and I have no regrets. 

I arrived at the barn today with a massive amount of confidence considering how well my private lesson went last week (in summary, it was awesome). Izz brought her camera with her, so we had a little pre-lesson photo sesh with her and Todd. They were adorable when Todd wasn't trying to eat; I got a funny picture of her when Todd picked her up off the ground with his neck, but she let go. I caught her mid-fall. She looks like she's flopping. We got back to the barn. I switched my saddle pad so it matched my outfit and tacked Baby up, almost forgetting her treat . . . almost.

Now that it's warm outside, we can ride in the big outdoor. It's the second time we've done so this year, and my how things have changed since riding indoors. The arena is bigger, and the jumps look bigger, despite the fact that they are all 18"-2'0". Surprisingly, I'm not bothered at all by the oxers; they're just too big like everything else.

Baby was fantastic on the flat. She was so super duper relaxed and moving forward, stretching down into the bit at times, but I wasn't really asking her to. I was more focused on not pissing her off because I H-A-T-E it when she swishes her tail. The past month or two, I have struggled with sitting at the canter, but today, there were no issues. My leg stayed in place on either side, and I rode her right on contact, but of course we were going to the right. The left wasn't bad, per se, but she didn't step off as quickly (a bunch of quick, hollow trot strides as opposed to two relaxed ones), and it took a few circles for her to slow down, but it still wasn't up to par with the right lead.

Her perfectness on the flat got me excited to jump. We did a line first. We trot up to the first jump, she went over it fine, then refused the second one. We went straight to it, and she jumped. Tried the line again, same thing. Tried it at the canter, same thing. We go to do a course, refusal at the first jump. We get over the first jump, try to do another line, goes over the first jump, refused the second. We did the line again with no incident, then she refused a single twice. We ended the first course with one good line. I wasn't happy and took my space back in the group.

We did our second course, and we were good up until the third jump. Only one refusal this time, and I almost came off, but I have the stubbornness of a mule paired with the leg strength of a spider monkey, so I stayed on.

I finished my course with the triple since it was the only thing that I hadn't jumped yet. She went thorough it perfectly, and I gave her a good pat. Miss S said it was good but had me do it again. I really didn't want to. I just wanted to go back to the group and revel in the minute bit of confidence that I had just gained, but practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect, and while I did make it through the triple, I didn't do it well. I tend to put a lot of focus on my equitation, but that is rooted in me wanting to be more effective as a rider. The better I am, the better Baby is. The better Baby is, the better I feel, and the better I feel, the better Baby feels. I'm not big into letting my leg slip back and becoming discombobulated on the other side of the jump as a result. I did the triple again. She refused the second jump. Did it again, refused again. I did it for a third time, and she went through the whole thing. Pats for days. Still, I could have only wished to look mediocre through it. Thank God I have a horse who is forgiving.

Right before we had to clear the ring for the next lesson, I followed Izz over the brick two more times. The first time was eh. Close distance + jumping ahead = eh. We did it again, and it was okay, better than what I had been doing the rest of the lesson, so I'm content with it. 

At the very end, we cooled off on a trail ride, where Baby performed the most extravagant working trot. She suddenly realized that her hind end is a thing and that she can use it, if she wants to, on her own. She surprises me sometimes, and it's always the good kind of surprise. I can happily say that spring has finally sprung and that it will not be snowing on Independence Day, no matter how crazy Eastern Shore weather is.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like my lessons all the time! Flat = awesome, jumping equals mehhh


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