See, the problem with missing one of your normal posts is the things that you did in the past week all kinda blur together. I had to look at my fitness tracking app to see “Did I ride last Wednesday?”. Really memory, you can do better than that. It was only a week ago.
Wednesday was a stretch ride, I believe. I’m guessing that due to the fact that I rode stirrupless on Tuesday. Thursday was our day off. Friday, I was able to stay out at the barn longer than normal because the husband went to hang out with a friend from work at happy hour for a bit.
Since Friday is normally a really quiet day at the barn, I was hoping that I would be able to get a good amount of jumping in. It turned out to be a normal Friday so I went to the jumping arena and wandered around messing with the jumps. Some of the jumps had been set as pretty tall verticals and a few oxers. I definitely am not ready to try hopping over those so I took those down to verticals or cross rails depending on how I felt. Scarlet is used to following me around, oddly enough. I used to just drop the reins over his head and he would stand there while I moved around various poles. I don’t feel like we have been here long enough to trust him to not wander out of the arena (no gate) yet, so he was forced to shuffle after me while I dragged him around to all the jumps.
After getting those set up, I got on and warmed up. I had shortened my stirrups before the warm up as I wanted to practice actually directing him with shortened aids. I don’t feel nearly as effective when I try to direct Scarlet from a two-point. After the warm up, I really focused hard on two-pointing at the trot over the tiny cross rail I had set up as a warm up fence. I wanted to get up and stay up, even though Scarlet hardly needs to jump over that one. I somewhat managed. I also focused on getting him to not rush the fence.
After we had done that one a ton at trot and canter, both directions, I moved onto a diagonal line. It was set as a cross rail to a small vertical. He got really wiggly with that line, so we really had to go over it a lot, trying to get a proper bend in the turn to the cross rail. Scarlet wanted to do the turn going sideways and then turn and launch himself at the jump. We eventually got a much calmer approach and were able to transition to the canter. I’d still say my two point for these jumps was pretty mediocre. Someday I’ll manage to see some improvement on that dang position.
After the diagonal line, I went to a cross rail I had set much higher than I normally set them. In reality, the middle of it was just about as tall as the gate we hop over a lot. It looks more intimidating to me for some reason when I set the cross rail higher. My brain is weird. Scarlet definitely looked at this one as we approached it. It was set on a long approach so that I had plenty of time to pull Scarlet off and circle if he was rushing the jump. He didn’t really rush it, it just got plenty of his attention. We trotted up, he rocked back and neatly jumped it. No fuss, no overly dramatic clearance, just a solid jump. We did that a few more times at the canter and then called it a day. Scarlet got a bath afterward since he was so sweaty. Not his fav but I bet he felt nice after it.
So now I have a reference as to how high a jump has to be to actually get Scarlet to jump it. Which is good. It’s not super high, maybe about 18″ which is pretty normal for a small jump. I just need to convince myself that we don’t need the uber baby jumps for warm up. He should be fine jumping the cross rail warm up set at that height with the verticals and other things being the same height or higher. I want to push us so that we improve. But I’m doing it super slow because I don’t have faith in my knowledge of riding and jumping. I want to be good at it, not just go fast and high.
Saturday I rode and worked on some bending. I tried to do the twenty-meter circle with over bend to inside and then bend to the outside. Oddly enough, Scarlet was great going on his difficult side, to the right, but not great going to his left. He would bend to the outside fine but wanted to lock his jaw and not bend to the left correctly. We worked on that and managed to get it somewhat working.
Sunday, I ended up going to Norco with Karen from Spanish Walk to keep her company while picking up Aria. We both thought it would be a part day thing but turned into a whole day affair. Her trainer’s barn is really nice and has tons of pretty horses. Luckily, it also has a decent amount of shade. Lucky since when we met R and P we ended up getting a lot more out of the lesson that we had expected. I also got drug into the lesson, much to my bemusement. I know people like to teach and will sometimes give out tidbits of info to observers but R just kinda hauled me in completely. I wasn’t expecting that, especially since I wasn’t the one paying him! But it was educational and completely fun so I wasn’t super upset by it.
Monday was another dreaded no stirrup day. This time, there happened to be people out at the barn and I had four separate people comment on the fact that I was doing it. Slightly embarrassing but also kinda nice to see my hard work be recognized.
I ended up riding for about 50 minutes without stirrups. I was able to do something like 3-4 laps each direction at the posting trot, a few laps of sitting trot each direction and 3-4 laps of canter each direction with lots of walk breaks. So big improvement there on how much I was able to post the trot and just ride without stirrups overall. AND I even was able to almost ride while posting. Most of the time, it’s all I can do to post and somewhat steer. Getting Scarlet carrying himself properly goes out the window. Bend goes out the window. Basically, everything but posting and direction goes out the window. But I had some moments where I was able to apply my leg and still post. So I feel really happy about that and I’m glad that my efforts seem to be showing results. It is hard to do this and if nothing seemed to come of it, it would be even harder.
Tuesday was just a simple ride to get out there. I was stiff from Monday and I had pushed myself running that day as well so I was pretty tired. But I wanted to make sure Scarlet and I got a good stretch in.
Cool news for you guys to look forward to for the next post, I’ve got a lesson scheduled! It’s with a trainer at a different barn so I’ll be riding some horse other than Scarlet but it’s still a lesson! I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be good and I’ll have found a trainer to stick with. I want to improve as a rider and definitely need some direction to help with that. I’m definitely looking forward to it.