Monday, June 8, 2020

Lesson Night

Friday night has become one of my favorites and not just because it is the end of the work week. Now it is lesson night! Wyatt has started lessons as well and ides the hour before me. He is trying really hard to learn how to post the trot so that he can move on to canter work and "real jumps". He is getting better and better.

As for me, my lesson was ok. I was feeling oddly weak and couldn't hold my two point very well, quickly tiring and running out of breath. When I woke up with a nasty sinus infection on Saturday, I realized why. 

Another beautiful chestnut! This guy is a 35 year old QH and is a perfect saint.


We started the lesson on a mowed path around the outside of the arena. The circuit incorporates a nice hill along one of the long sides. I've mentioned this probably with each lesson write up, but MD is very big into rider fitness. None of her students are allowed to enter a HT until they can canter for 5 minutes straight in a two point and still have the ability to then take the rest of her lesson. She wanted to introduce me to this and sent me off at the trot to get the lay of the land before it was time to canter both going clockwise/up the steeper side and then counterclockwise/down the steeper side. I HATE cantering down hill. It scares me. We discussed the biomehanics of the horse and rider at length before I took a deep breath and did it. It helps that Fenix is the bestest boy and never puts a single hoof out of line. He went around no big deal.

Fenix has taken a pretty strong hold on my heart. 


We then entered the arena and worked on pacing at 350 mpm. In her arena, this amounted to 1.5 times around without cutting the corners. I got to the end at 51 seconds. Ooops. Lesson learned? 350 mpm is not nearly as fast as I thought it was. 

After that it was course work time with a slight variation of the course from the week prior. This time we did diagonal, long side, long side, diagonal but all the jumps and striding remained the same. 

By this point I was pretty exhausted and just not feeling like myself. I expected to be done and instead watched as MD looked for ways to make the course more exciting. She pointed out the three jumps in the arena I had yet to do: a stone wall that looked huge, an even bigger looking roll top and a brown barrel jump. I told her that I was fine not doing those, but no dice. 

While any barrel used to cause panic, I have now done enough of them to be a non issue. At least on Fenix who could care less what he is jumping over. We will see once Eeyore is back at it. 


Now I had to do them. 

Wheee!

And once again Fenix proves that he is amazing. He didn't bat an eye at any of it. He really is a great boy and as MD put it "You aren't jumping anything. Fenix is. And if he doesn't care, then why should you? Your job is no different going over the round top versus a cross rail. Get straight, leg on and get out of his way"

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a really great ride! I love her logic at the end. She's totally right. But I can definitely see myself understanding her logic and also not being able to think that way in the moment

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    1. Yeah my brain isn't very logical when I get scared. Another MD-ism is that riding is basically scraping away our natural instincts and building up new ones. Riding is very counter intuitive, at least to me and my brain, so we need to work hard at it.

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  2. ugh cantering downhill has .... not conventionally been my happy place either LOL. it's great to practice tho. i also like how this coach integrates stuff like specific pacing and timing. that continues to be a giant blind spot in my own knowledge so i'm always curious to hear more about how folks work on it.

    also -- good for you for going ahead and jumping the bigger solid stuff!!

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    1. It doesn't help that Eeyore basically shuts his eyes and hopes gravity gets him to the bottom of the hill. Ugh. She told me that most newbies pull thus slowing the horse down when going downhill, but in reality this makes it worse. By adding leg and going faster it lets the horse get their hind end under them and they can go downhill easier. But getting my body to stop pulling and start kicking while going downhill is another matter.

      I really liked the pacing exercise. She wanted me to end around 56-58 seconds as this then allows for slowing for jumps, turns and hills on course. Coming in a 51 seconds was way too fast though. Lesson maybe learned. We will see.

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  3. You look really solid! It's awesome to feel that growth. Do you think she'd let you have a neck strap you could use when you're working on terrain? We talked about them a lot in my lesson this AM and how useful they can be for a variety of reasons. I will say, the only way to get more comfortable on hills is doing them! Pretty soon it won't feel like a big deal at all.

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    1. Thats what she tells me about everything I suck at with horses HA! Do it more and you'll get better.

      I'm not sure about the neck strap. I will ask. I know that AB doesn't like them as she feels it lets a rider get stuck and not as quick to respond to rebalance the horse, but I haven't asked MD yet.

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  4. I like that last line of MD's - a good thing to remember.

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    1. She has a lot of good quotes that I never actually remember when i sit down to write

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  5. Your position looks so good. Felix is perfect for you I think. And cantering downhill is scary. Good for you.

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    1. Very scary. Fenix is a really good boy. I always laugh when MD says he "gets antsy" because his antsy is Eeyore's baseline.

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  6. Your position looks AMAZING. Your mind may have been hesitant & your body weak from impending sickness, but your position in the photos is very "game on!" for those jumps. Bravo.

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    1. Well...I had a 9 year old girl there telling me how easy it was and not to be afraid so I kinda had to do it...LOL! Peer pressure folks. Its real HA!

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  7. Damn, look at you guys go!

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  8. That sucks about the sinus infection but it still sounds like a really super productive lesson! I love MD's last line - definitely going to keep that in my mind!

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    1. It was a swift kick in my pants to stop over thinking everything

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