Last week I texted Trainer asking what her schedule was like for the next couple weeks. If I’m running Training next month, I need some lessons. Unfortunately this is our Stupid Busy time of year at work, so I’m pretty much relegated to weekend lessons only – a weekday lesson requires taking PTO, which ain’t happening anytime soon. Turns out she was busy too, though, for the next couple weeks. After some shaming/whining (which may or may not have included some cuss words and threats to haunt her forever if I die in our moveup – I’m charming like that) she said she could meet me Saturday at Pine Hill, but only if it was early. Since I don’t want to die next month, ass crack of dawn it was.
My one superpower is the ability to always wake up 15 minutes before I need to actually be awake. In this case, that meant 4:15. I was at the barn by 5, had my stuff packed and Henry fed and loaded by 5:20, and away we went on the 2 hour journey. In the pitch black. And fog. Which turned into misty rain. Which turned into gale force crosswinds. It didn’t take long for me to question my sanity.
But the sun finally came up as we were on our final stretch of highway, and I was tacked up and on my horse before 8am. It was quite warm on Saturday – already 72 degrees by then, and 90% humidity. What does Henry not do well? Humidity. So we kept the warmup short, hopped over a few fences, and then started stringing some together.
I’ve been working really hard on not pulling. It’s my favorite thing to do, but it really doesn’t work anymore once the fences get over 3′. We’ve also worked a lot on squaring our turns and really keeping his hind end under him and shoulders UP through the turn, helping to keep the canter more powerful and flowing forward. Which, miracle of miracles, happens perfectly when I too keep my shoulders up and square and use my body to help turn or adjust, instead of my hand. Funny how that works. No motorcycling, no dragging ourselves around on the forehand. Balance is amazing.
We went through the exercise that Buck Davidson had set up for his clinic last weekend, which is essentially a grid line with all the jumps on an angle. It took me a couple tries to really get the line right (keeping the horse’s shoulders up and straight was vital – oh hey there’s that concept again) but we got it. For the most part anyway. Ok, some attempts were better than others.
This lesson we really focused more on straightness and pace and rideability and kept the fences low, since it was our first stadium lesson since August (for real). Next time we’ll bump them up to height.