|Why you think so much, Momma? |
It not good for you!
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.