Today was an exciting day. :) It's been LOVELY weather... nice and chill in the mornings and evenings and almost cold overnight! It's been glorious. Dan's coat is starting to get thicker and longer, which sucks... as it's going to heat back up again. But he looks amazing. And while it's still hot out later in the day, the mornings have been lovely. Today also had a wonderful breeze and the humidity is down. so YAY!!!! Luckily I was able to get my trailer back in time to get to my lesson today. (Unluckily, the trailer brakes still aren't working so I've got to take it back again.... ugh).
We got to Silverthorn and got tacked up. Dan was a bit uppity. He was playing with floor mat when I caught him this morning although he wasn't being rowdy or gallopy. When I was getting him tacked up he was a little on edge and staring at the house and looking hard for something but never spooked. Even when the tractor started up. So we went in the arena and warmed up and he was just like normal. I had to smack him a few times with the crop because he was behind my leg. Kelly said he looked very even but... a few times I felt some funkyness (STILL!!!! UGH) but she said that's just because he was behind my leg. So she went and found the lunge whip and walked into the arena. She had me walk Dan but as soon as she came into the arena he got all buzzed up. He was vibrating and ready to go! She barely flicked it towards him and he was off!! Like a rocket!! So we attempted to harness that energy. But it was wild energy!! Then he started acting like he was going to spook at the tractor. He never did, but he was a bit hollow and staring towards the tractor. He had that high stepping springing trot that is darn near impossible to sit, so I had to post. Tracking to the left, he was falling out, so I had to ride his shoulder in. Which is extra hard when he's a grenade! (I'm reminding myself that I WANT this ride... and I do.. and it was fun.. just took some getting used to!). But then he felt like he was leaning in, so... Kelly wanted me to ride his shoulders in and keep the connection on the outside rein but get him to take the inside rein too. In order to accomplish that I had to think about getting my body straight and not leaning to the inside myself and pushing him into my outside rein and leg, but then really using my outside leg to guide him back in. And then he kept wanting to counterflex so I had to use a lot of inside rein, but... opening and back. Which is so hard for me. (And... hmmmm. maybe that's what Cindy kept trying to get me to fix... it was so hard for my brain to fight the instinct my body was desperately trying to do, but.... opening that rein did help immensely). BUT... holy cow!!! When I got him straight between his shoulder blades.. holy cow!!! We giggled about how often that brilliance comes on the edge of frantic and explosive... and yep! We walked that line today. But once we could get him to take a breath... supple into the connection... wow!! WOW!!! Like... no way I could sit that trot (at least in the jump saddle)...wow! He felt amazing!! So going right... was the same, but opposite. Or exactly the same.. but not opposite! It was the same ride. I had to ride the right shoulder to the left (oh heeyyyyy.... that's the problem when we jump too!! interesting.... interrrrreeeeeesssstttttingggg..) So tracking right, it's inside leg to outside rein and pushing his shoulders out. Which was a little easier, but still equally brain frustrating. I kept wanting to over straighten him this way, but I need to allow the bend more because... he needs more bend. And again, once I got it.... ooooh lala!! That trot was so powerful and big and flamboyant. It was a 9 trot.. not just a 7 trot! But it was on the edge and we often went from oooh la la to holy crap to frantic! hee hee. But we settled and he really just hung in my soft even connection. It was awesome!!
So then we let him take a breather and we were going to jump. He didn't give us long because he was still a fire breathing dragon and after a minute he was breaking into the trot on his own. So we basically just jumped one single vertical today. It was on the long side but close to the short wall on one end. So we started with a short approach on the right lead. Which, is easier... because I can leg yield him almost to the outside rein, which means I'm pushing his shoulders to the left, which is opposite of the way he wants to drift. So... it's what I've been practicing for a month or more, so it was easy for my brain. So we did manage to get it right after a few tries and he was jumping fairly straight and landing fairly straight. I was closing my right leg, pushing my right hand against his withers and opening my left hand to give him a place to go. Kelly wanted more.. she said I was doing "kindergarten" and she wanted "PhD". So I did. Then we came off the long side, but she had my cut my turn a little so it wasn't a super long approach (there was a jump in the way and we weren't doing the whole line so I had to go inside or outside of the fence, so I went inside, which made it a shorter line). This time we came off the left lead and it was the same thing. Jump straight! Again, it wasn't too difficult because it was still practicing preventing the right drift so I would almost leg yield right, pushing him into my outside/right rein and then close the door and he would go straight. Yay! It wasn't perfect everytime and it took a little longer this way but we were getting it. Then we had to jump off the left lead and land left. She had us basically leg yield in the air over the fence. It was a little confusing to my brain and I wasn't quite sure what she meant, but apparently I accomplished it. It's just the opening rein to the left and looking left and landing to the left. But THEN it got tricky! She had us come off the right lead again, on the short approach, but now she wanted us to jump the jump straight, but then land and go right! Which meant now I had to ask for the right drift. But not allow it before the fence or as we took off, only in the air. Sigh.. that was hard!! Super hard. My brain was like "Nooooo... we've worked so hard to NOT do this.....". It wouldn't cooperate. ;) ha ha! So then we just started jumping the fence at an angle/circle which was NOT the right answer. And then we started backing off of it a bit. And then we got behind the leg and it started to get icky. So... we went back to jumping it straight... and increasing the mph by 1 each stride as we came around the turn. And that got us back to jumping confidently out of stride. Phew! And then we were jumping straight again. So then... we jumped it straight and I PhD opened my right rein and moved my hands right and we got it! Yay. So then we finished with going left for confidence and then going right for ... whatever. And we got it perfect!!! So perfect that Kelly, who was standing on the landing side in a straight line, fell to her knees with her hands in the air saying "YES!!!!!! YOU GOT IT!"... hee hee.. It was awesome. It made me crack up that she was that excited for us. And damn it felt good too! We giggled that I was "Dabbing" with my reins. ha ha... So yep.. we quit with that. :)
I decided to just get off instead of trail riding because Dan was lathered and still on edge and the tractor was still moving stuff and making noise. It was a good decision as Dan was just weird while I was untacking and putting stuff away. He was wild enough that I didn't even leave him tied to the trailer but instead put him in the trailer while I was finishing up. Goofy boy! But a super fun day. :) :)
Now to just keep the momentum for schooling at Fence on Sunday! And then for the Novice HT schooling show at Chatt next weekend. :)