So Friday after dropping Amber off at the vet, I headed ten minutes down the street to Trainer G’s place. I was able to ride Liam again, which was a blast but he REALLY made me work for it that day. It was because I didn’t start the ride with a whip lol. Lazy ole man who pretends not to want to work but looooves to jump lol.
Trainer G set up a lot more jumps that day (okay only 2 more but it felt like a lot lol) and was a little harder on me with more expectation which I was happy about. Get me in there and let’s dig up what really needs work! You know what didn’t come up? The left hand being weird! Yay! But you know what did come up? My right hand being weird. Ugh. Hold on, I just gotta fix all my parts individually…..
But it was a very fun lesson while still being very challenging and really making me think – like a lot. I’m good at multi-tasking but then she added in counting strides and I was lost for a few sets until I got it back together haha. Which is funny because it’s one reason why rundowns to sliding stops were so difficult for me because I’d count strides and the horses could feel it.
We started off with leg yields, and it’s definitely different coming from western to english. The same phrase could mean two different things, and Trainer G seems to understand well that for me I know how to do what she wants me to do, but I just have to familiarize myself again with the english meanings. Liam was definitely not in the mood to do flatwork, not with the jumps there, but I was able to get some good moves.
The exercise for the rest of the lesson was bending lines and coming out of the corners. I was okay on the bending lines, but she’d have me trot that first fence and good lord I was a fail at that like the whole lesson. Every time I’d feel Liam stall in front of the jump so I’d end up leading with my shoulders to help him over the jump and then felt like I had to really get him moving to get the good canter and strides to the next fence. There was only one instance where we got a very good, forward 6 bending line that actually felt really good – other than that we hit the seven strides.
I did a number of bending lines – the crossrail to the peach, then to the blue. The crossrail to blue and then peach. Then all together (crossrail to vertical, to vertical to crossrail). I was meh at this. My bending lines were actually okay, but I didn’t feel as attacking or fluid to the jumps as I’d felt the first lesson. Which I know happens all the time! But one thing I do to get Liam going is dig in my seat – really rely on that and let my heels creep up as I squeeze him viciously. Which is…not good lol. Which is so funny to me because Amber needs none of that haha! So it’s good for me to be doing this on Liam.
A couple times I felt the exercise was good and I did well. Then we switched it up and she had me jump the crossrail to the coop and then a nice arcing turn to the peach (or turning right to do the blue). While the first attempt felt messy, I definitely think it was a moment of progress for me. I was only 13 when I quit jumping, so I don’t remember actively pushing horses to jumps or really making the decisions on a course. I just steered. But Liam smacked his hind feet good on the landing after the coop and lost his footing a bit, but I kept him going, circled to the left, and just as we reach center he hit a weird patch of dirt and his hind legs slipped again. I wasn’t able to completely judge the distance, but after pushing him through the rough patch I could see that to continue pushing would be way too long. So I sort of muddled a slow-down, which I think I just sat up a bit and quieted my seat but I can’t be completely sure. Either way I did something and we ended up at the base and hopped over it well.
I’m used to just letting horses jump. It’s what I’ve known and done. Air Myles would always just take me to the jumps, and I think Liam is so good for me because while he’ll jump anything, I have to be proactive, I have to tell him we are doing this. I still don’t completely make decisions and just kind of let him jump, but it is my second lesson lol. Baby steps! So for my brain to be able to take that info and so so quickly make a decision – even if I muddled through it – I think is definitely my favorite moment of the day. It’s a start, and that’s what’s important.
Because then Trainer G said the dreaded words – next lesson is no stirrups. Oi. I will die. But when she said that and I immediately said “okay, yeah, sure” she laughed. Yes, I will die lol. But I know I need it. She said it’ll help me get everything sorted a little better so I didn’t have the crutch of stirrups. While I my poor legs are not happy, I know that she’s totally right. It’ll really help my position and I do look forward to it.
So, I’m hoping for another lesson after Christmas – I have that whole week off so I’m planning on nice long walks with Amber and hopefully another lesson!