Showing up for my lesson last Sunday I was feeling drained from being sick (breathing is a key element of riding apparently) and insecure in my new saddle. If given the choice I probably would have been cantering cross rails and leaving after thirty minutes.
Of course my trainer being my awesome trainer gave me a “No, you are crazy” look and set the jumps up 2’3″ – 2’6″.
I have to admit, the more I ride in my saddle the more I love it (yesterday I could easily sit the canter with a rock solid leg… this is not due to overnight magic abilities). The lesson was no exception.
My last jumping lesson with Simon, we both got a bit frazzled combining lead changes + lengthening his stride to do the real strides. Simon starts off relaxed and does very well with lead changes, but often the longer we go the worse he will get. If he lands incorrectly and doesn’t get a lead change, I think he gets confused and thinks he’s “bad”. For Simon, being a “bad horse” is the WORST and his mental state quickly deteriorates when we get to that point.
Since I was feeling a bit weak and our last lesson ended more frazzled than I’d like, trainer and myself decided to do the adds today as well as break the changes down to halts in the corner. Ride the corner straight. Halt. Breathe. Canter proper lead.
Of course given this plan, there times that Simon would swap on the hind (good!) after I started asking for the halt. If he’s already swapped the hind, I could have just made the turn and he would have changed the front for a perfect change… but I’m not great at feeling his hind yet so I would commit to the halt anyway. This will get better, but at least I know he’s feeling physically good enough to do flying changes if he’s switching the hind before the front. Progress!
Jumping wise, he was very solid. My eye is slowly getting better, but it’s not perfect. I have to count for anything closer to 2’6″, otherwise I make bad choices or no choice at all. There were a few special moments (per always), but overall I’m feeling more a lot more confident.
As for Simon, he’s bored. He perks up when we do the strides (more pace), bigger jumps (more fun), or rollbacks (the most fun). Otherwise he builds a bit of speed and may get a bit heavy, but will settle and listen to me when I ask him to come back. Sunday he did really well at coming back for me in order to do the adds.
Basically even though nothing is really perfect yet, I feel so good about our progress. Simon is not perfect, but lessons with this horse feel like a privilege. Even though every box isn’t checked in our quest for perfect hunter land, I need to remember how much he’s teaching me and how much he tries for me. That’s better than a blue ribbon, right?
That being said, we’re showing in a few weeks and I’d really like a blue ribbon 😉