I am finally getting a moment to sit down and write about that awesome lesson I had on Tuesday. Because it was awesome. Super hard and I feel like I’m not quite where I want to be yet, but I got through every jump.
I was super excited to do some jumping when I left my house as the sky was still blue and it was warm out but sadly when I got to the barn it was overcast, cold, and raining off and on. I am not used to how quickly the weather can change when you’re going just 20 mins away! In fact, I was extremely lucky that I had left my jacket out there the week before or I would have been freezing in just my polo shirt. But as I finished my warm up, I lucked out and the rain stopped. Even better is that it left the footing in the outdoor absolutely perfect!
JLE and I spent the first part of my lesson discussing my goals for the summer and the show I had gone to over the weekend. We discussed the fact that I had been the first one at the show ground (just like my dressage show last fall) and Dandy was able to get used to the facility as the business grew around him. This might be a strategy for me to try as Dandy gets used to being at a show. We also set up a plan for the show season which I’m going to stay pretty mum on because I want to focus on one thing at a time. I am going to sign up for a dressage schooling show on the 29th of June at the same place we went on Saturday. We’ll be doing Intro B and Intro C.
The other thing that came out of my talk with JLE is that, while I do have a lot of little things to work on when jumping (Dandy’s rate-ability being one of the top ones), we’re going to move the height back up so that we can start getting used to doing BN height again. Dandy and I can both trot around a smaller course without incident; we need to learn to put things together at height now and work towards moving up.
The first thing we’re focusing on is getting Dandy to come back to me after a jump. We started with a single vertical just off the short end of the arena. I had to jump it at the canter both ways: if Dandy was steady and maintained his speed I could keep going and do it again but if not, I was to stop completely. This was hard. Dandy did not want to stop and I was having a hard time doing it with my core and not going straight to my hands. Eventually (and I do mean like after going over this vertical like 50 times!) I was able to get Dandy to come back to me with just a half halt which is, of course, the whole point to the exercise. There was one moment towards the end of the exercise where Dandy got a little lazy with his back feet and knocked the rail. He was pissed! And he threw in a couple tantrum bucks. JLE and I just had to laugh at him. It was so silly.
Next we moved onto the red and white oxer that I posted a picture of in my last post. In theory, the exercise is pretty simple: canter in, maintain constant speed, ect, land, determine lead and turn that way to come back to the oxer again. It was supposed to be a figure 8. Only, I came into the oxer for the first time and totally froze. Holy heck did that thing look large! Thank God that Dandy took care of me and got us over it with no issues. The problems I had all came after the jump. Mainly that I was falling down over the jump and by the time I was collected again afterwards, I was at the point where I need to make my turn. Oops.
And at that point, the heavens opened up and it started pouring. I have never had to jump in the rain before, neither has Dandy. Both of us were a little unsteady the first few times but as this is something we’ll have to get used to, we soldiered on. At that point, I was starting to lose my horse and had to really apply the leg to keep our impulsion. Only in doing so I stopped trusting Dandy and kept encouraging for the long shot. At this point Dandy decided I was an idiot and began giving me an extra spot so he could pad the ground. JLE was really pleased with this as it’s teaching him to take care of me even when I make a mistake. Of course, it would always be better if we made none! 🙂
My lesson on Thursday got cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts and a broken down car. I still went out to the barn though and had a nice ride. When I got there, however, I realized that my upper back and my shoulders was just not feeling right probably thanks to picking up boxes of files on Wednesday. So I pulled Dandy out of the field and we did a really nice short bareback ride. I can tell my riding has gotten better as I was actually able to stay nice and loose during the trot. Dandy’s back is also feeling much better. It’s not quite as bony as I remembered! Still a high wither though, lol.
Tomorrow Eric gets home from Germany but before I pick him up from the airport I’m going to head down to Aspen Farms to watch JLE compete. She’s currently first in the Open Prelim after dressage so I’m excited to see her go!