Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lesson #32: Twisted Sister

The last lessons I had were somewhat unpleasnt... weather wise. The unpredictable rain had made life difficult and unpleasant. I hate being wet.

This last lesson was totally different! The weather was a wee bit chilly but nothing that being outside and moving around wouldn't get the blood going. Getting tacked up was pretty quick this time. I think I've gotten a system down... me and Aspen have a "thing". ADW is riding Buddy today... a wonderful Belgium and QH cross. One of the most endearing things about Bud is that his head is HUGE. haha He literally has one of the biggest heads on a horse I've ever seen!

When we are ready, Sheri moves quickly and gets us to get warmed up with the trot. She must have a plan today. For some strange reason, I am having a lot of trouble with Aspen. It's as if he's not listening to my signals. A few times, he's pulled me into the middle of the ring completely insistent on going that way. I've had to use a lot more force than usual... strange. Regardless, she has us make a change of direction and immediately says it's time for the canter on the left rein. I thought I was going to fall right off! I haven't felt more unbalanced than that moment. When we slowed down enough for me to walk over to Sheri, she tells me to approach her and then starts laughing! Tells me to hand her the reins and shows me that I crossed the reins under his chin!! The whole time I was basically telling him to go the opposite way I was thinking I was directing him!

I haven't felt more sheepish than that moment. It was so silly but i couldn't help but laugh because it was so ridiculous. Poor Aspen!!! He must have been so frustrated with me at the beginning and was likely thinking "what is this idiot doing!?" Good thing he's a good boy and didn't take me straight into the rails! :S

Finally! He's back to being his good boy self and responding appropriately to my aids. We move into cantering on the left then the right rein and transitioning down and up. We work on trotting over the Cavaletti jump a few times and then Sheri says, "ok, I want everyone to come this way and then each of you are going to canter the jump". ADW is uneasy as it's quite the launch when you're ontop! Believe me, that 12 inch jump looks like nothing while you're on the ground but when you get ontop of a horse, it suddenly becomes this ginormous obstacle that you feel you'll never get over without toppling off.

I figure that the best thing to do is to not think about what's happening and just doing... otherwise who knows: jump refusal, stalling or worse. So I get Aspen into a canter and have him moving nicely around the corners and as we approach the jump, I remind myself to look up and forward and just go for it. What an exhilarating feeling to sail over a jump like that! Instead of Aspen lazily stepping over the Cavaletting, he actually jumps it.

What an amazing feeling! I totally know why riders get into jumping.


  1. Was that your first jump? If so, congrats! How exciting! I haven't jumped yet (I am focusing on dressage at the moment, plus my lease horse can't be jumped) but I have loved my experiences over cavaletti, poles, etc. on the ground. So cool! :-)

    1. yep! first jump during a canter. my canter is still a bit iffy depending on the horse. if i ride aspen, then things come together much more easily. but if it's the horses that get into the pony trot first, i usually become a terrific potatoey mess and nothing happens :(

      it's exciting you're focused on dressage! i saw a dressage show last weekend at the caledon equestrian park and it was such an incredible thing to watch live! the horses literally become these compressed "balls" of horse doing a dance of sorts. majestic to watch!