Well. Had a super awesome day today, despite the fact that it began by my literally getting kicked in the head:( I swear, 13 years ago when I was in my riding heyday, I never got hurt on the ground. I did, however, fall off pretty much every single time I had a lesson and jumped a fence. So, on average, I would fall about twice a week. Fortunately, since having my son, I've scaled back on my "crazy" factor, and don't ride the 'wild childs' any more, and since I don't do ballet any more, I can actually keep my heel down and my leg under my hip. All good things! But in the last year, it seems as though I'm bound and determined to break something or put myself out of comission on the ground! Just today, I was bent over taking Tiki's leg wraps off from his trailer ride this morning, and he lifted his foot to stomp off a fly, and the back edge of his shoe caught me on the temple. Broke my sunglasses and everything! Then, after an awesome lesson, I was loading him on the trailer, and he stepped off the ramp, crowded me against the fence and stomped the he&& out of my little toe!! GRRRRR ...
Anyway, had two good days in a row. Yesterday, we flatted pretty intensely. I worked on ME; dropped my stirrups and worked on my sitting trot and canter with no stirrups. Worked on HIM, with lots of halts, transitions, shoulder-in, and lead changes. They're getting a LITTLE better; he will do them when I ask now, but tends to pull my arms out afterwards. Baby steps, baby steps ...
Had dropped my jumps down to poles, and worked on precision. Cantered 2 in a one stride, did 4 in a 3, cantered into the one, circled, then did the 2nd in the line. Halted in between the poles of the 3 stride. Lined up poles and cavs on a TIGHT "slice" diagonal, and worked on cantering those. Ended up very well; he was an excellent boy; did want to pull a little, but overall he was awesome.
Today, trailered in to Patchwork so my friend Becca could torture, I mean help, us.;) Began with some bending and softening at the trot, did some nice transitions, cantered a little to loosen up, and then did the Spirals of Death. I mean, I've practiced spirals ... at the trot. We spiraled All. The. Way. In. (at the canter!) It was WILD! Did both directions, and it was HARD. Afterwards though, his trot was simply amazing. Balanced, on the bit, forward, and ALL I was doing was closing my leg! Trotted a pole to a crossrail/halted. His mouth gaped, his neck pulled me forward, and he reluctantly geared down. Trotted out of the line over a nicely substantial tall crossrail. Halted. Rinse, reapeat. Rinse, repeat. He was getting better and better, and more responsive. Cantered into the arch jump. No hesitation what so ever. Halted. Added on a rollback to a gate. Halted. Hey, he was starting to get the idea!
It is so funny; Becca was having me work on sitting down and back at the canter ... which I CAN do, no problem! As I cantered into the jump, I could feel my shoulders wanting so badly to creep forward:( Strung a few together without the halts, and he felt simply amazing. I only jumped up his neck on one, and it was the trot crossrail. She raised a few up to 2'9 and 3', and we jumped this great course of a tall green gate, rollback to the arch. This was GOOD! My rollback was tight, neat, and he felt very handy. Went to the skinny that she'd jacked up, and he bunny hopped over it. From there to the massive Auburn oxer; I've done a 2'9 oxer, but not 3'. This one was 3'! Our distance wasn't there, he petered out, and I think my brain might have sent subliminal signals to make him stop. I half heartedly popped him with my hand, then went to the skinny again. It was better, but still not good. Stopped. I knew then that I wasn't brave enough to help him over it, so she dropped the oxer rail. Did the skinny one more time, and he finally got over it well. Stopped like a GOOB at the former oxer again, and this time I got onto him hard; he was just being a sh%^ head. Circled, and squeezed a little spur in him this time, and he cleared it by about 2' ... which sucks when the jump is already 2'9! From there to the outside line where we had a 3' vertical, and he was AWESOME, then to the other outside line where we finished with another 3' vertical, and he jumped it well, but stalled a little once he'd already left the ground, so he felt ROUND. Came around again to the Auburn former oxer, and he jumped it well this time ... had Becca put the oxer pole back up, and we tried again. Cleared it perfectly, so I let him be done.
He was DRIPPING. Also, had a little gash on his hind leg *under* his polo wrap, and had some weird bumps under his girth right behind his elbow?? Question for y'all that have actually made it to the end of this novel: Does anyone stretch their horse's front legs out after tightening the girth? I did this today just for the heck of it, and now I'm thinking those yucky bumps were a result of his skin getting pinched. I'm almost thinking I shouldn't stretch the legs out anymore. Opinions? Maybe I should park the fleecy girth for awhile, and use the anatomical girth at home and see if that makes a difference. Poor baby! Overall, I think we got a LOT out of our first ever jumper lesson today, and I'm so thankful Becca took the time to work with us today; it was GREAT!!!!!:)
OK, final video. This one is the flat (undersaddle). I thought he was a superstar, but I guess none of the other horses made any mistakes because he was 4th again. Oh well, won't have to worry about it this time since we're only doing jumper classes!:)
(BTW, sorry about the fact that my mom is yapping on the phone the whole time here. Just ignore her!)