I had made the mistake of mentioning to MD in my first lesson that the canter is my worst gait. I sit too heavily on my butt rendering my legs ineffective. I tend to get discombobulated and this leads to lack of steering which then makes jumping more difficult. MD took this to heart and the focus for my 3rd lesson was to be the canter.
|It was a beautiful evening that was thankfully dry. The rain had started Monday and didn't quit until Friday afternoon.|
After a blissfully brief warm up, we got to the exercise at hand: a basic hunter course. She had set an outside line, diagonal, outside line, diagonal course with the first three lines set to 4 strides and the final diagonal at a tight 3.
Before I could jump anything I had to canter the entire course, sans jumps, maintaining an even rhythm with a 12' canter stride, and make a simple lead change both directions. It sounded super easy. I may be a wimp and a little wet behind the ears still, but I have done some course work.
Holy crap but this was hard!!! Like, why so hard??!?!
|We have been going on hikes every other weekend. Its a bit tricky with Waggy as she can't tolerate much but loves going out.|
The first time around I had a complete brain fart. I cantered up the first line beside the jumps on the left lead, made the left turn still on the left lead then freaked inside my head that I needed to change leads, trotted and then realized my error and went back to start again. Ooops.
The second time through, Fenix had a lovely canter with a 10' stride. This is apparently his more natural preference and while nice would have made making the strides difficult. I went again. The third time around he did some amazing auto changes and I let him continue along and while MD said that was perfectly fine, she really wanted me to force the simple change so that I get to work on my transitions and doing them much quicker than I do. So we got to go around again. Finally, this time I got the green light to add in the jumps.
If you are wondering why she does this, I did too and so I asked her. In her opinion, it is very important to be able to do this if you want to jump well. Being able to simply canter the entire course without changing pace, losing the line, or missing a lead then allows you to add in the jumps without issue. It makes the jumps secondary to what you are doing out there. Again, that is her opinion and yours may vary.
|I took Fluffzilla for his first grooming appointment. I got back a rat. A well groomed rat. I'm still not over it.|
Anyway...we got to jumping. I did the first half of the course the first time and botched the first line because I let Fenix stay in his 10' canter instead of moving his striding up which meant that we got 4.5 strides and a chip in the line. We also broke to trot before the diagonal because I stuffed him around the turn. We came again and the second time went better through the first line but again we broke to trot around the turn.
Third times the charm and we nailed it. She then had me do the entire course and folks, I nailed it. It felt amazing!!!! I got him moving towards the first fence and finally remembered the feeling I had when I just cantered it without the jumps. Instead of my brain focusing on the jumps and going "lalalalalalala" between fences, it actually kicked into gear and said "nope half halt we are going too fast" and "move him up you'll miss your distance" and "do not stuff him into that corner, go wider".
It was so so so so so amazing. We hit every striding and put in a nice little hunter round. My grin was nearly painful it was so big.
I drove home feeling really good and for whatever reason my headache was finally gone and as of writing this Monday morning, has yet to return. I'm not sure what nerve was pinched or muscle knotted but the ride stretched me out and fixed me. Horses for the win every single time. Also, this week is a big party. Wyatt is going to take a lesson before me and then my friend B is riding with me and bringing wine along with her. Sicne Friday is also Eeyore's first follow up US, I very well may need that wine.