Amber was really good Wednesday. She still felt kinda stiff and just a little blah, so I think that right front leg is still bothering her a bit. I do think her stifle is feeling better, though. My mom got some good video so I could assess what she looked like, and she’s pulling that right hind up which is excellent. But it does seemed marred by her right front potentially still being sore. The video allowed for some super cool shots, though.
It was such a blast to really ride her again, though I’ve forgotten how to dressage lol. I was leaning forward and my lower leg was slipping forward so I think we had more of a hunter ride, but I was super pleased with how she actually really seemed to want to hunt the bit down into my hands, but still holding herself just off of it for a bit of self carriage. She was so consistent with it, too.
I think with the shows and going back and forth english to western, I think she was expecting that as soon as she was really learning the concept of dressage and what I wanted then we’d switch to western. And I think that has something to do with the change of pace I’ve been seeing in her the past few rides. Because really while she’d ideally like to not work too hard, she truly enjoys being ridden and being taught new things and getting praised, so I know it isn’t because she’s just being lazy. She feels more content in the work, and while not as “on it” as in past rides, she felt a lot more confident with things and understanding that when I praise her to just wait for me a bit. The canter WILL come haha.
Yesterday I thought my eyes were crazy but there is a growing lump on her lower jaw – the right side. So I’m thinking that when she smacked her right front, she must’ve smacked her jaw somehow. They popped up around the same time. I’m also really confused because that swelling on the leg hasn’t gone down. And I ice it, and she was on bute for 3 days but been off it ever since so…..? Ugh, this horse. But I think after working hard for that buckle in all 3 shows, it’s okay we’re mucking through a few things now. I think the rest is needed, and I always love just being on her.
Well, on a super fun note – I had my first lesson in 13 years! It was actually super cool to see the footage. While I’m out of shape and lost my eye for distance, it’s good to see my muscle memory trying to remember how to jump haha. I rode her old schoolmaster Liam, who is an opinionated, super lazy guy. I love him.
He was an absolute saint, bailing me out with 2 near falls for me (which I’m so sad my mom didn’t get those on camera!), taking the long distances I put him to, bailing me when I couldn’t make a stride decision, and showing me some sass on our lead changes. He required so much more leg than Amber, and it was learning curve at first because “what do you mean I need to keep his pace going? Amber just….goes” haha. With a few pointed whip taps and lots of spur, though, he was up and going. I was so glad he wasn’t bouncier – I would not have been able to sit that! lol. But he was the perfect saint, and I trusted him from the beginning.
We did walk/trot work first, Trainer G first assessing how I rode and what were my issues. She immediately latched on to my left hand – which really does need a lot of help! It likes to do random things by itself lol. Also that my left heel likes to stay up after I use my spur. I’ve been trying to fix that since Amber rides so much better when I lengthen my left leg, but second set of eyes is best! Then we moved on to canter work, the work getting more challenging as I passed initial exercises. Her 3 main thoughts for my lesson was position, track and pace. And I did okay on body position and the horse’s track, buuuuut was lax on pace haha.
My fails were trotting the fences – that’s so hard! My biggest fail one was when I got too in my head with “crap I stopped riding right before the jump and didn’t help him at all – my mind just went blank and I just need to help him and ride him” and he took off early, left me behind so he pulled me forward when my arms didn’t reach far enough, tripped on landing, sending me forward and the only thing that saved me was his big thick neck going up like “the fuck are you doing, lady?!” lol. I even managed an “oh shit!” as his neck hit my chest lol. So Trainer G (I like saying that!) brought me in to ask what happened, agreed with where I’d made the mistakes, but it was so nice because I never once felt like I was really being criticized and I didn’t feel like a huge failure and frustrated after that near fall, just laughed it off and came back ready to try again. Which speaks volumes that for such a new situation I felt very comfortable with G and also that I’m growing as a rider and being able to put mistakes behind me and try again without holding on to that mistake. Win!
My favorite part of the whole ride was actually when Trainer G said “I don’t know who made that decision but it was the right one.” Hahaha! It was mostly Liam. For sure. Going to the jump I was trying to rate him a bit unsuccessfully, half heartedly attempted to slow the pace a bit, but then gave up and he was gracious enough to chip in a stride and save my butt haha! He got so many pats that ride for putting up with me lol. The last set was absolutely the best, rounding off the jumps at around 2’3″ or maybe 2’6″. We didn’t measure lol. But it was good to know height since they didn’t look overly big to me (could be that I trust Liam completely lol) and also I think that’s around BN height and I think Amber could do that.
But the ride was an absolute blast, and I really loved riding with Trainer G. We seemed to get along really well, and all my fears of berating trainers and ones who may treat me like a kid were gone. Which is why I picked her in the first place since I got a really great feeling from G when I first met her. So, success! I have the 14th off and she’ll be gone this weekend, so I’m definitely scheduling another lesson soon! And in the meantime waiting until I can haul Amber up there!