Lifting Up

Now that New Trainer is back, open enrollment is over, and the renovations are in a more reasonable place, I finally have time to get back in the saddle and start taking lessons again. I was so thrilled to be able to hop back up on Gus on Monday. It’s been almost a month since I’ve ridden him and about three weeks since New Trainer has been on him.

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Let me tell you, those two training rides and then a break did him a world of good. He was so relaxed and so much softer in the bit then I remembered. I was thrilled. Monday we really just hacked around. I spent a few minutes in the arena but then went and explored the farm.

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For my lesson on Wednesday, I was worried that the trainer effect would wear off but thankfully it didn’t. Because I took my stirrups off for the lesson, we worked a lot on transitions and me using my seat more to lift Gus up and into the transitions. The difference in when I got it right was awesome but now my core is very very sore. Still, it’s a good soreness and I’m looking forward to getting better.

Jinxed It

The other day at my lesson, JLE and I had a little discussion:

Me: Dandy’s been really good. He hasn’t, knock on wood, reared in a year.
JLE: Why did you say that?!

I definitely jinxed it. Not twenty minutes later, this happened (skip to the 25 second mark if you’re short on time):

I debated for a while on whether or not I wanted to post this on my blog. I kind of didn’t want to admit that this happened because Dandy really has been doing so amazing and I’m kind of embarrassed that I caused such a bad backslide. But, at the same time, I also have to be truthful to myself and admit my mistakes. I can’t learn from them otherwise.

Clearly the bad is that this rear happened at all. And it was a rear, not just a little hop up. I still don’t quite understand what I’m doing to give him the excuse (because it is an excuse), so that’s something I need to talk to JLE about. I’m planning on bringing this video to my next lesson so we can watch and discuss what I should have done to get him working and forgetting about his annoyance before it could escalate.

There is a lot of good though, if you look for the silver lining. The first being that this is the first time he’s gone up in a year and it only happened when something changed drastically in how I was riding (the no stirrups). I’m sure I am flopping around up there a lot more than normally and I know I’m gripping with more leg than normal (I can feel it). Dandy is getting a lot better about handling pressure but he’s still learning and this is proof that we’re not quite there yet.

But you know what the “best” part about this whole experience was? How I handled it. I didn’t get scared. I didn’t get off. I worked through it and went back to my lesson as if nothing had happened. We even came back around and jumped the cross rail again after that.

And I did it all with no stirrups.

The Burning

My legs and core are burning! I can’t keep my knees together for more than a few seconds without them starting to shake. Second ride of no stirrups is in the books.

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Can I just take a moment to say how much I love my latte colored horse? Dandy’s a bit of an odd color. He’s a chestnut but he’s not really that bright shinny red chestnut. He’s coper colored really and in the winter he gets almost chocolately colored. I love how he looks when he’s clipped.

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The lesson was really good and JLE already thought my position looked a lot better on the flat. And yes, we even did a little jumping. Though it was just a baby cross rail (no pictures of that). Maybe by the end of the month I will be jumping full courses? JLE wants me to start doing three lessons a week so that is YAY!

ETA: Apparently the boy got a quick video of the cross rail jump!

No Stirrup November

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The whole barn is participating in No Stirrup November which I think is all for the better. We are going to have one strong legged team by December!

Because this was my first lesson without stirrups, we worked a lot on my position to get it correct and get my legs long. It really pounded home the concept that thru-ness comes from the legs, not from the hands.

This lesson wasn’t super interesting because it was just a lot about position and keeping him forward in the sitting trot (thank God she didn’t make me post last night!). By the ten minute marker into the lesson, I could feel my calves burning. Today I can barely walk! But it is definitely a good kind of sore.

We’ll see if I’m still feeling that way on Saturday after my jump lesson!