Lesson!

I had a lesson on Tuesday! So happy that it is a new month so that I could have one. I rode a different horse this time. Still huge compared to Scarlet. I’ve ridden 3 horses at this barn and I believe all of them have been 17hh.

Trainer D wasn’t in as much of a hurry to leave that day (or the fact that the kids are back in school leaves her with less minions) so I groomed and tacked up before my ride. I don’t mind that at all. It was kind of fun to see what it would feel like to have someone get my horse ready for me, but I really enjoy the grooming part of riding. Not because Scarlet likes grooming (he is more or less indifferent to it) but because it’s part of my ritual of getting into the riding headspace. With new horses, it allows me to get to know them a bit and get a feel of their temperament while doing so.

The horse I rode has had an abscess in his mouth for just over a month. They are cleared to ride him by the vet but not with a bit. So I had my very first experience with a hackamore. (It was purple! XD) I was a bit hesitant about that because, hey I’ve literally never ridden with a hackamore. I wasn’t sure if I’d do something wrong with my cues because of the lack of a bit. I shouldn’t have worried though. It wasn’t much different than normal. The horse was also a little girthy. Scarlet will toss his head sometimes but this horse mean mugged and snapped at me. I smacked him back and told him that he better behave himself or he is going to really regret it. He tried half-heartedly to snap at me again when I was checking it before mounting but another smack caused him to stand there and glare at me while I made sure I wasn’t going to slide beneath him.

Trainer D said this guy could use spurs or a crop as well. Since I don’t have spurs (I might need to look into them, just for lesson purposes) she brought me a crop. He was nothing like my previous ride though. I didn’t think he was all that hard to get moving forward at all. He needed a tap with the crop here and there to be reminded to move and reminded not to lean but a very solid equine citizen overall. His trot was almost a western jog feeling but I was told that was about all we would get out of him. That was okay. A super smooth trot is really nice to ride to so I wasn’t going to complain. His canter was very even and slow feeling as well, without actually being slow.

Trainer D had me two point around at the trot each way for a lap and she said she was very impressed with me. All my hard work paid off! I’ve been practicing while riding Scarlet so I’m glad that has helped. I also have been doing a 30 day ab challenge with my friend. We are on day 16 as of Wednesday. It started with 15 crunches, 6 leg lifts and 10 seconds of plank. Then it ramps up by 5, 2 and 5 respectively each day. We end with 160, 64 and 155. It has been pretty killer for the last 5 days so I’m dreading the end of it. Leg lifts are the bane of my existence as well. So hard! But, something I’m doing core wise is helping my riding so if it’s this workout, maybe it’s worth it. 😉

Trainer D had me practice the sitting trot as well. I hate my sitting trot. I never feel balance and Scarlet hates me sitting in the saddle for the most part so when I practice, most of me is focused on keeping my horse moving forward, but not at a canter, versus up and down. I said as much to her and she had me sit the trot in a circle in front of her. She said it didn’t look bad but I explained how I felt like I would occasionally slip to the side and then try to over correct and then all my balance would go to hell. She had me try and exercise of sitting for 5 strides and then posting for 5 strides. It was quite difficult at first to get the rhythm but I got it. After that, she explained that while I had a nice lovely posture while posting, I would sit way back and open my pelvis up a lot while sitting. That was probably what threw off my balance, as I didn’t need to be opening up that much. The explanation made sense to me but I’m not sure how to implement that with sitting at home. The lesson horse’s trot was smooth, Scarlet’s isn’t without a ton of work on my part. It will be something to work on to see if knowing what is happening will help me figure it out.

After the warm up, we started jumping. She had two lines of 6-7 strides. One of crossrails (absolutely tiny, lol) and one of verticals (probably about 18″). We headed over the crossrails and the horse didn’t feel like I was with him so the first crossrail was bad and then the second one he broke to a trot for. I regrouped and made sure to let him know that I was there and ready to head for the jump. I apparently did that too well as we got a half stride for 6 and a half for the second crossrail. Trainer D explained what happened and said we should decide on striding. I said let’s do the 7 as I didn’t feel confident enough to push him forward for the 6. So we went around again with me half halting after the first crossrail. But my half halts are much stronger than that horse needed and we got 7 and a half. At least we weren’t making the same mistake?

The next go through it was much better. Then we went through the vertical. Those rode pretty well each way. I had to ride a bit more forward for that due to actually needing to jump them versus canter over them. Once I got that down it was easier. Then we strung those together. This horse leaned to the left very hard and that was the lead we went through first. Because of that, we ended up making a much sharper turn to the vertical line that I wanted to. But we were there so I said (outloud) okay well we are going sharp and we made it over. We also took the second jump of the line on a long jump but we would have chipped if adding an extra stide. I believed the horse could do it and he felt me be ready so we did it.

Trainer D praised me for just riding with the ride we had considering that turn was terrible. Then we did it again and I put my left leg on hard to keep him out as much as possible. It still wasn’t as much as I wanted but it was many more strides distance to turn and straighten for the jump line. Then we went to the right. We broke to the trot after the crossrails and I had to circle around to get space to go back to the canter. We headed straight for the verticals and Trainer D yelled for us to come back over the crossrails at the end to get a full 4 jumps. We did that and then called it a lesson.

Trainer D said that I was doing really well, focusing on the things I needed to last time. My two point has improved, my knees improved. She said my homework was more or less just keep doing the same thing. A bit disappointing because I like having new specific things to work on but I’m glad I showed improvement.

I did decide to ask about boarding and haul in fees, just because what the heck. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Yeah…. boarding will never happen. The minimum cost is 2x what I pay for Scarlet’s board. I can’t afford that. She didn’t remember the haul in fee because it has been so long since she has done a haul in lesson. She said she would look it up for me and she does do lessons on Saturdays. So, depending on what the fee is, I may try to do a haul in lesson someday. Now if someone could just donate a truck and trailer to me…. XD

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