Gus is doing so so well! I backed up a little bit this week and spent three days lunging with the vienna reins. The first day Gus did not think he could go around in a circle, he was not so sure about the pressure on his mouth, and canter? What? The circle was way to small to canter. But on day two? He was like a completely different horse. He’s a smart boy.
Over the weekend I got Eric to come out and take some photos and, of course, get on Gus himself. Despite being so relaxed during the week, Gus was a little spitfire on Saturday! The good part: Gus was forward and picked up his leads when asked. The bad part: Gus thought he was back on the race track and burst into a canter.
I had to spend a lot of time just trotting, half-halting, trotting, halting, walking, trotting… you get the idea. And of course then when Gus would bolt into a canter we would come back and start over again. It was exhausting, especially in this GA heat! And of course, Gus is still learning what a half-halt is so it’s a bit more like “I’m going to strangle you for half a second” then the polite “listen please, I’m still up here” that a half-halt is supposed to be.
But eventually we got a few good trot-canter transitions. I love that he does react to my leg. I just wish it wasn’t quiet so crazy of a response. Even better, he was listening to my outside leg and actually turning! Eric says it still feels like trying to turn a semi truck but it used to be like turing a semi truck with flat tires so, I’ll take it.
Because I had Eric out to help me, we even put Gus over his first ground poles and his first mini x-rail! He was a superstar, the poles didn’t phase him at all. Once we get a little bit more consistent with steering and our transitions I’ll start doing a lot of pole work.
To end, because Gus was getting a little anxious at this point, we went on a nice relaxing walk around the property. I really love this place and I can’t wait to get on the trails this week (I had planned to on Sunday but forgot to bring any saddle pads with me…fail!). I love this horse, he’s such a good egg. He gets today off and then this week we start hacking on the trails!
I had my lesson with Dandy last night but JLE decided to switch it up a bit and had me ride in her saddle, which is almost exactly what I’ll be getting in (hopefully) just a few more weeks.
It made a WORLD of difference.
When my saddle actually gets here, I’ll do a full comparison (and review), but for now let me just say I felt “stuck” in the saddle in all the best ways which gave me more confidence. My saddle is a very old piece of shiny slippery leather. It works. It’s a saddle. But it is also adding a lot to my insecurities, which was made abundantly clear in last night’s lesson. JLE is always surprised that I don’t fall off more when Dandy is being sassy because she doesn’t feel safe in my saddle. I guess I’ve had to learn to adapt. It’s what I had.
When I originally sold my saddle because it no longer fit Dandy, I had plans to take that money and go buy something that fit him better. Unfortunately life got in the way and I needed to use that money to pay for board and stuff. My trainer at the time had this old saddle laying around and so we put it on him. The flap actually fit me pretty perfectly and, despite having a tack room full of awesome custom french saddles, was the best fit for Dandy that we had found yet. So she gave it to me. Now of course, Dandy has changed tremendously and the saddle doesn’t fit well at all. But I won’t forget that act of kindness.
Besides working on the flat, I also got to jump! I told the boy afterwards that I haven’t been that excited to jump a X-rail since the very first time I was ever allowed to jump. Because I didn’t feel like I was going to slide off at any given point, we were actually able to work on it. I really need to get over being a passenger. Dandy thinks he knows best and I’ve been acting like he does too. JLE says I need to take back control. So I did. It was a blast.
I also got to try my new Horze Open Front and Fetlock boots:
Yup, they’re orange! JLE just laughed at me but I love them. And he’s my horse so I can do what I want. 🙂
JLE and I had a great talk over margaritas after my lesson. We are both on the same page when it comes to getting Dandy and I going and we’ve mapped out a schedule for him for the middle of summer. Starting in a few weeks (after Aspen and once the kids get out of school and start riding earlier), we’re going to add a Tuesday lesson so that I’m riding twice under her supervision and once on my own. I think riding with eyes on the ground will help me get over my confidence issues a lot faster because I’ll have someone to give me advice and walk me through the sticky spots.