After we killed it our first BN (yes, even though it’s been a month and it’s an entirely new year, I’m STILL bringing that up where ever I can. Here’s a GIF of it. Watch it. Love it. Those are orders.)…let’s relive it for a moment, mmmmkay?
Anyway, after that flipping phenomenal day, riding pretty much died down for the rest of December through the first half of January, thanks to holidays/vacations/cancelled shows/cancelled lessons/frozen arenas. So P got a more extended break than originally anticipated.
But then finally the ground/arenas thawed out, so we had to, ya know, put a saddle on and all that. And it was hard to get back in the swing of things at first, for both of us.
So I flatted a sulking P, who couldn’t believe I STILL wanted him to bend to the right, on Monday/Tuesday, then Wednesday I was like, “this sucks, let’s jump.” Problem was, all the jumps were cross-rails. I mean, I didn’t think it was a problem, but P was all, “I’m above this,” and by above, I mean WAY above. Apparently he heard whispers of running Novice and needed to show his disdain for the little jumps. So we jumped around the course a few different ways, then called it a day. He got Thursday off, then I flatted again Friday to prepare him for Trainer B.
I had already informed Trainer B that he’d be riding P on Saturday, because that’s exactly what everyone wants to do after sitting in a car from 9 hours, right? But it helps me when Trainer B rides because he can feel things that he can’t see from the ground, then he gives me tips on how to deal. And Trainer B is a pro, he can handle it.
No media, because I didn’t wear my helmet/helmet cam (since I was NOT going to ride), and my fingers remained off my phone and in my jacket. Since it was FREEZING.
First we got caught up. I boastingly told him how P hadn’t refused a jump in FOREVER (besides that random one at War Horse in November), and then he warmed P up, noting that he was much better laterally and canter adjustability-wise (thanks to me), but that the downward transitions still left something to be desired. P was falling on his forehand and getting heavy, so he wants me to lift my hands in the transitions to keep P on his hind end. Noted. On to jumping.
He started him off over a pole on 6″ cavaletti blocks at the trot. And P slammed to a stop. And Trainer B was THIS CLOSE to toppling off. But he recovered, and swiftly whacked him with the crop, then went over again. And over a few more times until P realized the crop wouldn’t touch him if he JUST WENT OVER.
Now. I’m going to say something here in defense of my horse- I really don’t think he saw the “jump,” and it just startled him. Trainer B will be the first to tell you he didn’t have him in a forward trot and wasn’t supporting him with his leg. So I’m going to call that a fluke.
Say it with me, all. It was a fluke, it was a fluke, it was a fluke…Thanks, guys.
Anyway. So Trainer B looks around at all the jumps that are ALL set at 3’+, making up a course. And I say, “Want me to lower anything?” And he goes, “Nah, those are fine.”
I mean…if it’d been ME on P after he’d just stopped at 6″, I wouldn’t be heading for 3′ jumps, but I suppose that’s what separates Trainer B and I. And other stuff, maybe.
So anyway, P doesn’t have another refusal, even over this gigantic 3’6″ oxer that I was SURE he’d stop at. I said that out loud and Trainer B goes, “Yeah, that’s the biggest I’ve ever jumped him.” Well…it’s not the biggest you’ve ever made ME jump him.
But it was great, though P looked a little shell-shocked when they were done. Sorry, buddy. I told you the vacation was over.
So the next day, P got back on the trailer and we headed BACK to Trainer B’s, much to P’s chagrin. But this time with BO and her horse Sandero on board as well! BO and S went first and did amazing. And then P and I were the last lesson of the day because B loves P the most (is what he told P, at least), and after warming up, where I successfully got P over the 6″ cavalettis on the first try (sorry, Trainer B. Don’t hate me), we went straight into course work. BO was still untacking S when we started (so of course, missed the the best rounds of the day), but still got over in time to get some good videos.
We were fine…for the most part. Ignore Trainer B skipping. He was just so excited to be out of Florida and with his FAVORITE clients (I couldn’t even TYPE that with a straight face).
I’m still fighting myself to trust that P will actually jump, so I spend most of my energy on making sure that happens, rather than on anything else like balance, position, distance, turns, etc. And the only stop P had was 10000% my fault- it was the 2nd jump in a bending line that we got into with such little energy, that he barely got over the first jump. I SHOULD have skipped the second jump, but nope…and he just petered to a stop after thinking hard about jumping it anyway. He made the right decision and the fact that he felt like he was going to try anyway is such a huge change that it actually made me super happy.
So we went and jumped it again. This is SO unlike the former P.
Then took it from the top. And only took one long spot! Which, guys? Is an improvement.
And then we went around again…but I messed up the first jump so we had to start over. And then encountered some cross cantering/lead issues, both of which are indicators that P was getting a little tired, which was understandable.
So we ended on that, which was best for P. I was a little disappointed the jumps were so small, but P had done the big stuff the day before so there was no need, especially considering he was just coming back into work. All things considered, it was a great lesson. Perfect? No, but I’m glad because then there’d be nothing to work on. And Trainer B would’ve driven up from Ocala for nothing. Even better, though, the issues we had were so very minor compared to past lessons where the sole goal was just to get over the jumps. Trainer B’s wife commented that he looked like a totally different horse, and I concur.
And it’s official- when Trainer B gets back for good, he’s going to take P around his first Novice! And then it’ll be my turn….