Sunday, October 5, 2014

Then there was Friday

Ah, yes, it is, in fact, time for change. I forgot to mention in my last post that Thursday was my last lesson on Baby and with Miss S for a while. A local woman has decided to start an IEA team at her barn. Miss S mentioned it to me, and, at first, I simply didn't want to. I'd heard about IEA before and thought it would be a cool thing to do, but I just brushed it off because I thought there was no need to change anything riding wise. Then the texts poured in, and I was sucked into this thing. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to afford riding with Miss S and riding with the team. I actually thought I could for a couple of days, then my dad talked some sense into me, and I picked to ride on the team. It's more expensive, there are shows every month, and the barn is an hour away, but, when opportunity comes knocking, you don't ask it to wait.

My first lesson was on Friday. Cas is also on the team, and her mom is my ride for the next couple of months. It's a cute, quaint little place, nothing extremely luxurious, but it gets the job done and then some. I've never been good at meeting new people, so I just stuck by Cas for the most part until everyone started showing up.

One of the middle schoolers on the team, Izzy (not to be confused with Izz who has moved and left me feeling unloved and lonely), also happens to be into fashion (and also happens to beat me and everyone else in equitation, but, hey, we're a team now). She showed up dressed to impress in a polo and Tailored Sportsmans, both in shades of grey that matched without clashing. She used the Black Rule, but her nails were painted blue, which added some contrast. Of course, it's October, it's about 6pm, and there are a bunch of mothers in the barn. They're all asking, "Don't you need a coat, sweetheart? Are you sure you're going to be okay?" to which Izzy replies with, "Oh, no, I'll be fine. Just get me on a horse. I'll be fine." God bless this child's dedication to the fashion game.

My mount at the beginning of the ride was an older, solid bred Paint. The barn owner, Miss Jan, apologized for putting me in a Wintec, but hot damn, that was a comfy saddle, and it fit me well. We started out at the two-point for quite a few laps. On the subject of physical health, I had some pretty bad lower back pain, which I worked through, but it was incredibly bothersome. We then started to trot in the two-point, then rising trot. There are woods on two sides of the arena, one long side and one short, and my horse wasn't fond of going by the woods on the long side at all. That required lots of half halts. The trainer, Miss J, was very encouraging, and she wouldn't give me a correction before telling me that I was doing well. Everything was good while we were trotting, then we started cantering to the left. We're all just going along, but then I hear that characteristic, "Halt your horses!" which isn't like the one you hear an announcer say as a test in a class but rather the one that means "Halt your horse! There's a loose animal in the ring!" I don't pride myself on being very vigilant or having the best hearing, so I look around, still cantering, wondering why we have to halt our horses, then I see Miss Jan's horse taking off with her, right towards me. I think the spread he pounced over is what gave me enough time to get out of the way. They all calmed down after a little while, and we kept on cantering, switched directions, cantered the other way, and then we moved on to jumping.

My horse was too old to jump, so I waited until the others had jumped, then I switched onto Leo (I think). I hopped right into the canter and did three fences. Miss J really wanted me to sit, which is still difficult for me while jumping (I'm relying too much on that half seat). I lost my stirrup over the second fence, but I'm the keep jumping type, so I just took the Swedish with one stirrup, and that did not go down well. Miss J said that I needed to go half the speed I was going through that combination. I didn't even think I was going that fast, but Cas said I was practically galloping. I went through it again and cut my speed down quite a bit, then Miss J let me switch onto Twister.

Twister likes to duck fences to the right, so right leg and left rein were required going to every fence. She ducked the first time, but then went over the second time as we did the same combination I did on Leo, minus the Swedish. I have to say, Twister is quite narrow through her ribs; I have to move my leg over a good three inches before it even touches her. Staying with her was another thing, and she jumps kinda funny. We did another combo of the red then a rolltop. I swear I cannot do that type of turn without taking the second fence at an angle, but that was a problem because there were poles on the rolltop angling to the center. Of course she refused the first time. It wouldn't have been fair to make her jump it like that. We tried it a second time with Miss J by it to help me to it, but, again, I messed up the turn, and that time I got dumped. I shot up because I didn't want Twister to run, and I just gave Miss J a thumbs up and got back on. I trot into it, and she jumped beautifully, and we had a nice, calm canter out and downward transition. Many pats for a tolerant pony.

Our first show will be on November 2, which means that I have to get my homework done on Friday and Saturday (ew). I'm nervous but excited, and I already like our team. The group mentality is there, so I don't think we're going to have any weak links effort wise. This is gonna be fun.

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