Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Had A Kick A$$ Lesson!

Why you think so much, Momma? 
It not good for you!
Quite frankly, I wasn't expecting a lot from tonight's lesson because I'd missed a few days of riding
because of a business trip, and my back was killing me from lots of windshield time and trying to wedge myself into the little rental roller skate I was driving.  Great attitude, right?? Way to start off on a good note.

Inner Me: Let's set the bar low, Aim. If we use survival as the goal, anything better is icing on the cake, right?? HOO-RAH! Positive thinking in action, girl!

I had some time to watch some of the lessons before me and some of the riders were finding some of their courses challenging. 

Inner Me: Well, crap.  If the good riders are having a rough time, what they heck is my lesson going to look like?  Maybe I should pull the aging adult ammie card and suggest a flat lesson today.

Yep, that's me.  Just BRIMMING with confidence.

Given the crappy inner monologue going on in my head, it's amazing I even got on Indy, who was being a bit more ADD than usual.  Which I took as a sign that maybe we really should just do a flat lesson.

I don't know what changed.  Maybe that I just stopped overanalyzing it.  Before I got on I made the decision to take Indy aside so that I could do some groundwork and get him focused on me.  Then I got in the ring, warmed up with lots of lateral work and transitions to keep him listening and thinking about my aids. I also thought about what I was doing every stride.

Inner Me: Make sure you keep the rhythm steady.  Inside leg to push him in the corner.  That didn't work well, more inside leg next time.  Try a transition to trot. Hmm, no response off the leg.  Add more leg. Still doesn't work.  Add spur. Whoops, that worked!! Ok, let's do more trot-walk-trot transitions so we can get him thinking more forward from the leg. 

The flat part of the lesson went very well.  He's getting stronger and more balanced, and I'm feeling stronger and more balanced.  The lateral work is getting better; when we leg yield his shoulder doesn't get to the track 10 minutes before his butt does.

All that was good, but the part that jazzed me the most was the jumping.  We've been doing lots of cavaletti work and today's jump session started off the same.  We were doing well with those, maintaining a rhythm and jumping out of stride.  The my trainer told me to catch one of the "real" fences after the cavaletti.

Inner Me:  Wait!  What???  No, we do cavaletti. ONLY cavaletti. No real jumps!  (I know, hard to believe that I once jumped 3', huh?) 

I didn't stop question my trainer.  I just went and did it, and it went well.  Before I could congratulate myself on coming through unscathed my trainer told me to do the cavaletti, the real jump, and then two more real jumps, set as  a 7 stride bending line.  (In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you the jumps were the height that the ponies were jumping, 2'6". Maybe not real jumps for most folks, but I'm writing the blog so I get to call 'em real jumps.)

I nailed it.  I mean, was I Medal or Maclay perfect?  HELL no!  But I did the numbers and made my distances.  I'd no sooner finished that course than my trainer gave me another, adding one more jump.  We did that well, too.  I even managed to make a couple decisions about pace and line without dithering and ruining our momentum.

Inner Me:  Shit!  This is the 5 stride line! Need to move up. LEG!!!! Ooohhh, that worked well.  Amy! Concentrate on the next fence, you dope!  It's the 7. Aaack, came in a touch too strong, bending out should help. Oh, yay, that worked too!

Again, was it like watching Amanda Steege or Tori Colvin?  Not by a long shot.  It was pretty much Get 'Er Done riding.  But I got it done without feeling like the wheels were going to fall off and I was going to die throughout the whole thing. 

My brain is a funny thing. It either works for me or against me.  (Sometimes I think a pre-ride lobotomy would be helpful.?  Today it worked for me.  Now I just gotta figure out how to get it to do that again.


  1. LOL, I have those mental conversations with myself ALL the time. Today I had to tell myself not to look at my trainer as she was putting the jumps up, so o wouldn't get psyched out. And what do you know, it worked! I killed a 3'-3'6" course, in large part thanks to my magical unicorn steed, but also because I rode well and made good choices. Back in September I never could have pictured myself doing this, I was stuck at 2'9" for YEARS due to being poor and catch-riding whatever was available. My trainer did an amazing job finding me a free half-lease of a 4' horse (😱) who can definitely take a joke. He definitely has some personality quirks and can be a jerk and a bully, but man is he a packer over bigger jumps! Sounds like Indy is in the making to be that way too! Less the jerky opinionated bully part though 😋

    1. I saw those monster fences you were posting on FB!! You ROCK!!! And I do the same thing! If I don't look at my trainer, then the fences clearly did not change heights. So glad to hear you're having fun and improving. Say hi to Mom for me!

    2. I will for sure, and I know she'll say hi back!

  2. Yay!! Awesome stuff. Happy for you.

  3. Sounds like a great lesson. Also 2'6" is so a real jump!

    1. Awww, thanks! I think I get sucked into watching the bigger fences my peers and people I used to lesson with jump and I get down on myself, when all I really should be thinking about is me and my situation. Ya know? Easier said than done.

  4. Umm, 2'6" are real jumps to me. And you can see distances and influence pace too??? You are my new hero. Not even joking.

    1. Me too, Shauna! As I said in the comment above, I sometimes get too caught up in what others are doing when I should judge myself by my own yardstick. I'm 46, you'd think I'd have learned by now! LOL And the seeing distances and influencing pace thing? Still a crapshoot, but we're working on it!

  5. Yay! Also - the DQ definitely thinks that 2'6" is a real jump. You'd have to pay me a WHOLE lot to get me to canter down to a 2'6" jump right now. We haven't tried to get to the other side of anything but cavaletti in a really long time. Proud of you lady!