Friday, February 1, 2013

Lesson #16: Progress

The weather held out beautifully tonight. It was a wonderful evening that was cold, but not snowy blizzardy or rainy! We arrived early and settled ourselves in. I'm riding Bonnie tonight and because we're early, she's waiting to be tacked up. While she's waiting, she's constantly looking for a snack from me and she's nosey-ing around my jacket and trying to nuzzle into my pockets. What a pig!

I tacked up Bonnie (yippie!) and notice that she's much more restless and lively than I've seen her in the past. I feel this might be a challenge tonight... after all, remember she has a tendency to do her own things when she feels like it; and unless you're firm with her, she'll take over.

She's a no muss no fuss kind of gal and I like that about her. Sassy and full of spirit. Even if that means more work for me, I'm ready for the challenge. Starting the lesson right was important; so that I would immediately have control with Bonnie and there would be less disagreements. I put on my leader hat and told myself that I would be the driver today. I've had enough crap to deal with at work and now it's time to practice getting my assertive face on. NO more Nice-Deb!

Warming up with the posting trot is a good way to get the blood really flowing and your cardiovascular system kick started. Sheri has us posting over the ground poles on the long side of the arena while post trotting. Thanks to Kim's lesson, I understand that there should not be a "double step" between poles and the horse should be trotting fast enough that there is a single foot landing within each space. Of course, Bonnie has this way of speeding up as she goes over them and also veering off to the left. I'm told to employ half halts with the outside rein to slow her down, as she steps over each pole; and we successfully slow down the pace but she's practically at the outside of the arena at the end of the poles set. Looks like it's a matter of outside foot aid + half halt; that should do the trick.

We move onto the Cavaletti jump with 2-point position. Bonnie's not too bad with jumping and I am looking forward to having her successfully make it over the Cavaletti while actually jumping, and not trotting over it. She's lively today--which I am super happy about since I don't need a crop with her. We work on things together but Sheri points out that I'm anticipating the jump and so I tend to lean forward on Bonnie's front-end so it is in fact more difficult for her to lift her front-end. This error in positioning also leaves me vulnerable to jump refusal; which Bonnie does just fine and I find myself face-planting onto her crest. No, not breast, you sick people! Anyways, I almost flip off her as my right foot is out of the stirrup and I'm clutching to her neck trying to pull myself back up. Phew. Crisis averted. So, we try again and she refuses AGAIN! The next time is going to be my last chance and I have to make it count... so I push her forward and hurrah! we make it over. Not that it was particularly graceful but heck, at least it wasn't as messy as it was before!

Though the lesson has been a good deal of physical work for me (which I thoroughly enjoyed!), it has also been an eye-opener to realize that, my riding has progressed since I last rode her, I am able to handle Bonnie more confidently than before, and I have physically and psychologically progressed so that I'm able to handle things that she throws at me.


  1. soon you'll have bonnie jumping with no problem! Just remember to bring her a treat.

    1. yea tell me about it! she's such a pig. pooped twice in 3 hours!!