Super fun lesson today!! Poor Danny. He's getting his hiney worked! But he seems to be eating it up.
We hauled up to Morning Run for a lesson with Beth. It was HOT. And muggy. Ugh. We warmed up and then went to jumping. Todays lesson was adjustability. :) Great..... (that was written in a very sarcastic tone). But it actually went super well and I was quite pleased with the squirt. :)
We started off with a small vertical with two ground poles set as bounces. The goal was to compress and get him tight and compact and bouncy. It took a bit. It took a long bit. BUT... when I got him in front of my leg (which didn't take that much work today despite the heat and humidity! Yay!) and got him on the bit, it was a lot easier.
From there we went to the next line, which was two ground poles one stride out on each side over a gate. That was a "normal" gait. And that was a bit easier to get done but i still had to ride better. It helped when I shortened my reins and got my hands down at the neck and in front of me, rather than flailing around behind me. ;)
Then we added in the final line which was 3 wide oxers that were set long. So I had to push for reach. However.. the first time through, I rode the same and we ended up getting 4. And it was a poopy four. So then Beth told me to get a bigger stride, but I cheated and basically XC galloped into the line. Yep, that was easier. Ha! So she wanted me to get a bigger stride before the fences but really ask for the reach within the line. THe whole point is adjustability and NOW not... when he feels like it. So the third time was much better and sure enough, like she said, a few more times in and I was almost having to half halt.
So then we put it all together. And... bless his heart.. my horse is a saint and incredibly athletic! I came gung ho through the 3 stride but didn't bother collecting him enough for the one stride. And when we hit the first pole I think my brain thought "bounce" and I threw myself up his neck. (Funny how earlier the long spot was scary and I held him back and now I'm throwing myself at him.. ugh). But he saved the day but jumping it. And not just jumping it but somehow getting practically underneath it and jumping it with me on his neck, somehow without even touching it, and then getting out over the pole after. Good grief!! He's such a good boy. He got lots of praise and then we came back to it and he didn't bat an eye. Just kept coming and this time I rode better and collected him more correctly and we had a nice ride. Then we headed down to the collected bounce poles and got through there. Not as nicely as when we started there. But we got it done. So then she had us do it backwards. We actually managed that fairly nicely.
And then we finished with doing the long 3 strides straight to the short bouncy collected bounce line. Ugh. That was hard! And by this point Dan was getting tired. So... we made one big last effort where I really rode and did it quite nicely! The first time through we had to make too big of an effort over the last fence and while I was able to get him collected it was as he was going over the bounce pole instead of in the corner. And the second time it was better but I still waited too long. So Beth suggested that I make life easier by riding a bit bolder into the first of the 3, so that by the time he gets to the third fence I can be a bit more holding and then I can jump that last jump almost as a drop and keep my butt in the saddle a bit and my landing gear in front of me, so that I can half halt more effectively and get the canter for the bounce line easier. And it worked!! We nailed it! So we quit with that.
And Beth gave us great compliments today. She said that Dan was looking great and she was impressed because not many horses his age and level (even horses running novice) were that adjustable. :) YAY!! And then she said that I rode really well too. YAY!! We're getting our asses back in action. :)
So then I hosed him off and let him sit in front of the fan for a bit. And as we were getting ready to leave the bottoms opened up and it POURED! Beth was standing behind him and I was in front of him when a huge thunder boom hit. It scared all of us it was so loud. We all jumped. Luckily Dan didn't squish either of us. After about 10 minutes it settled down enough for us to leave but we had to haul home in the rain and lightning.
But we made it. And he got a nice big dinner and turned out with Flecky. :)
This picture isn't from today but.. how cute is he?! He looks so sleepy! Or stoned out of his mind. ;)