I was only a little bit delayed on this past riding lesson. Just about 5 weeks instead of 5 months. I try to take one a month as that is what is within budget at the moment. Sometimes the weeks don’t work out for that to be perfect but it keeps me on track to have someone look at my riding every once in a while.
I brought my saddle this time and rode in it. I’m not very educated in the ways of saddle fit so I was worried that it wasn’t going to fit Brad well. Trainer D checked it before we got on. It fit him well enough but was going to cause me to lean forward a bit due to the balance of the saddle on him. I could definitely feel that. I’m thinking that the shimmed pad I use for width on Scarlet might be a good idea with Brad as well. I’ll try it next lesson I have.
Trainer D was finishing up a previous lesson so I started warming myself up after I figured out the curb rein I was riding with. I’ve never ridden with two reins before so it felt a bit awkward to pick up and loosen my reins. I fumbled with my fingers every time.
Brad was quite sluggish at the beginning, per usual. He isn’t interested much in flat work. He likes jumping and never is sluggish there. I actually had to stop him and adjust my spurs so that they were above the spur rest so I could get after him to get moving. It took a bit but we got to a decent pace with Trainer D’s input at the end. My canter departs were pretty good. I’ve been working on asking and not giving until Scarlet canters so Brad also got that treatment and we actually got up into the canter nicely.
Trainer D had me canter in a half seat and I flubbed that by not putting my leg on before leaning forward. Brad obligingly listened to what my body was telling him and dropped to a trot. Perfect lesson horse. Always willing to listen to EXACTLY what I tell him and no more. We did it again with me remembering to ride actively and it was fine.
We took a walk break and I updated her on some of what I’d been working on on my own and the things that I thought I needed to improve on. One thing that I specifically need to focus on is staying up after the jump and not immediately landing on Scarlet’s back. She agreed that that will come with doing more two-point practice and being conscious of it.
Trainer D pointed us to a small verticle fence (grey) set at the end of the arena and told us to canter over it both ways. We did. It was smooth and nice. She said she could see that I’d been practicing waiting for the jump. She raised it and then had us jump it on the right lead and turn the corner to another verticle set somewhat perpendicular to the first (dark red next to blue). I did not balance myself correctly and we motorcycled around the corner, which led to us getting a terrible distance to the fence. I told Trainer D what I felt and she said that I needed to spread my weight more into my left leg. I did better the second time around and the corner was smoother.
Trainer D then had us take the blue diagonal line. She wanted me to get it in 5 strides. I went over and got 6. For all that Brad is a big horse, he will happily take a slow methodical stride to a fence rather than a big stride. We tried a couple more times and I couldn’t quite get the 5. I’d get a chip 6 but I just couldn’t figure out the 5. Trainer D explained it to me that I will get him to the fence and then sit there doing nothing. I have to really ask for the 5 if I want to get it and mean it. I did it again and we got it.
This is the part where I can’t remember the actual course and I’m pretty sure that I missed a fence because of the last little bit. We headed over the first grey vertical to something else that put us on the other end of the arena. Then we circled around to the right past the green jumps and went over the blue diagonal in a 6. I can remember the blue diagonal because the turn to it was a sharp one and I kept messing it up so we broke that part down.
I wasn’t turning well enough to get both the fences properly in line. I gave Brad a terrible line to the first fence and we flew over the second one as a response. It wasn’t great. We had to break that turn and the blue line down. I was stuck in fast mode from the previous blue line attempt and needed to leave the canter alone and just focus on the turn to the jumps. It took a few tries but we eventually got it. It was quite warm so we called it there.
I have a video of the blue line but it was sent over text so it looks like it was taken with a potato due to compression. I’ve asked Trainer D to email it to me but I haven’t gotten it yet.