So Husband is finally home! So of course I dragged him to the barn right away. What else would we do?
After our dressage lesson last Tuesday, Trainer J noticed a bump on P’s back…like a hunters bump. She didn’t seem too concerned- just asked if the chiro had said anything about it, which she hadn’t because, well, it’s brand new. I run my hands over each of his legs every day, and do a visual inventory over his body to check for new cuts and stuff, but I honestly hadn’t seen that bump before.
The next day after our lesson, last Wednesday, I put on dressage tack (gasp!) to show off to my husband our gorgeous canter. Well, P was a complete ass and was racing around braced against my hand and “bucking.” I put bucking in quotes because that’s what it felt like, until I saw the video.
The whole time I rode, he was just braced, chomping at the bit, super antsy, and generally not happy. There could’ve been a few other reasons: BO was doing a pre-purchase at the time, and they were jogging the new pony back and forth in front of the arena, there were 2 new horses that were out in P’s regular pasture to get acquainted, etc. And while he was ok-ish in the w/t, the canter just was awful. He kept picking up incorrect leads, and swapping. SI? Hocks? General asshole-ish behavior? Lord only knows. But it didn’t get better so I got off. Then I took off his saddle and palpated around the bump, and he seemed uncomfortable. He’s uuuber sensitive (like, even just glimpsing a curry comb sends him into despair), but still, it seemed as if that spot was extra tender.
The next day we had a lesson with Trainer B and I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to go. I decided to give him some bute and take him, but if he showed any signs of discomfort, I’d stop. He got a gram of bute (I think, he’s a paste spitter) and we hauled on up there. He was fine warming up, so we got to jumping.
And husband got videos! He taped more than usual so there are more Trainer B words of wisdom (WOW) in there.
Warm up fence. Gone are the days of warming up over a cross-rail.
Trainer B had set up a grid for us and had me take P over each fence individually so as not to blow his wittle mind. And mine, let’s just be honest here. And P was just fine over the regular verticals, but then we came to the lattice fence (now we’ve jumped random fences over a dozen times) which he’s jumped plenty in the past and that got me a slam on the brakes. I don’t get it by now. He looks like he’s taken aback by it, but come on dude, you’ve seen this before.
Then we moved on to jumping 2 at a time. I think my favorite part is around the :45 second mark where I correct him- he started pulling and that’s a no-no, so I halted and reined back, just like Trainer J told me to. But then I dropped my left rein (accidentally) so that now goes against everything Trainer J told me to. Oops. No one show this video to her.
Then we trotted in for the whole shebang. Well, first Trainer B blew Husband’s mind and I had to correct P again, but this time without dropping my reins. Small victories, I suppose.
I couldn’t get good spots at all. And I was getting kind of frustrated until Trainer B told me that it was spaced for a forward canter, but he wanted P to start off by trotting in so it wouldn’t overwhelm him (special snowflake that he is). Well, now that makes sense.
Then we cantered in and took fliers, then came back around and only took one flier. Again, winning?
Then we came in from the other direction and completely failed at life. I mean, completely. I had a great canter until we turned, then I just let him stutter and fade out.
Then we came in and got perfectly to the first fence, where you can hear Trainer B go “Yes” in the most relieved voice ever. Because OMG, so much adult amaturing happening right now. So naturally we had to botch the last 2 fences.
By now the score was more like KC: 0.5 Grid: 12+ so Trainer B goes, “Come in with more canter than you think you need. Jump, then press 2 things- press your hands forward and your body backwards. You don’t want to be close to him, you want your body to separate yourself from him, while your hands send him forward.”
And that was all it took!
Sometimes I feel bad for Trainer B, but then I remember that at least he’s compensated for having to deal with me for an hour a week. And I ain’t quitting that because in the few months that I’ve worked with him, my leg has gone from this:
Not every time, and it’s not always perfect, but it’s getting there the more I practice. Not to mention I feel 1000% more secure in the saddle, even when he has his stopping moments. So no quitting just yet.