I think I may be on a roll here with the lessons. After my last lesson, I chatted with Trainer G about a few other places I might go. It’s a bit of a far drive for me to get to Trainer G, so I was asking her thoughts on some places closer to me. One such place was only a 10 minute drive from me. I’d heard about it some years back, but I’d never met anyone or gone to check it out. I did know that they had a good lesson program, with quite a few lesson horses. This meant more horses for me to try as well, so I gave them a call, set up an appointment to tour the place, and had my first lesson Wednesday.
I got to ride Georgio, a Warmblood gelding (not sure what kind; I didn’t ask further lol) who used to jump 1.40 meters (4’5″ in case anyone is like me and has no idea how to convert this stuff; thank you Google). Don’t think I’ve ever ridden a horse who could jump that high, and he certainly had a different feeling than other horses I’ve ridden – which that’s exactly why I’m doing this! He’s about 14-ish, and certainly a big lug of a lesson horse. My lesson was an hour, with the first 20 or so minutes making sure I knew my way around horses. When I’d first seen Georgio, he was munching on hay and I was outside of his stall so I hadn’t thought of him as super big. Well, I hadn’t been standing next to him, and his withers are over my head even in a helmet. Been a LONG time since I’ve ridden a horse that tall! He had to be around 16.3 ish – maybe taller (I’m also not good with estimating horse height lol).
Again, the stupid crazy thing? For how big he was, all of my tack fit him. And it was on higher holes than Amber and she’s only at best 15.1. WTF how in the world….. You know what? I should really stop being so surprised by how wide she is. Girlfriend is STOUT.
Once I hopped on we had about a half hour left of our ride, so most of that was spent me getting to know him as well as Trainer M and I getting to know each other. I started out spur-less, and thank god that within about 5-10 minutes she was letting me put some on. My poor noodle legs couldn’t get him really going without them and his trot felt like he was going to launch me out of the saddle. I certainly felt like a flailing mess haha. We even tried a bit of sitting trot. Haha haha ha. HA. That was atrocious. Replacing me with a sack of potatoes would’ve worked better. But I was able to get him going okay, though even posting my elbows were flailing and my left hand had gone rogue again and my lower leg was sliding all over the place. Thank god I was wearing my full seat sticky breeches because I’m sure I would have come off otherwise lol.
To canter, I took Trainer G’s words to heart and attempted that with Georgio. He didn’t do it the first time, so I brought him to a walk and tried again – this time doing a bit of guesswork but trying to set him up anyway. It was behind the leg but we got it. Once we got cantering it felt like we were communicating a bit better. I felt very stable once cantering – his stride is huge, but very rocking, so I could better get my feel and position. I’m sure he felt the difference too since he was better after that, but what can you do haha. Trainer M considered ending the ride there, but I told her I could still do more. (I was actually dead but I wanted to jump a bit since I knew I could, trusted Georgio, and figured it would set a better starting point for my next lesson)
So Trainer M lowered a jump to a crossrail, and had me pop over it a few times. The first one I was a bit behind, which I’m actually okay with since I tend to throw myself forward, so uh….progress? lol These were easy enough for him to step over, and the second time I felt I was a bit too forward, but looking at the video it actually looks okay. The third felt good too albeit we landed on the wrong lead. I tried doing what I had with Sox, transitioning to get the correct lead before the turn but his trot had me so discombobulated that I just walked. I decided I’d save that for another day, when he and I had a few more rides and I wasn’t dying lol. For the fourth attempt, Trainer M had me canter the little crossrail, and that was our best one. He’d been drifting a bit left so just like Sox I tightened my left arm and tried to think of my left leg as solid, and we landed on the same lead as we took off. Georgio was certainly happy jumping had come into the equation, but I think by then we’d also gotten used to each other, so when I asked him to canter for that last jump I got a prompt transition and he was forward from the get-go. We hopped over it successfully, and were done.
Georgio was certainly a good boy, and definitely a different feel. While tall he wasn’t gangly – his neck was much longer than I’m used to tho – but he didn’t feel differently than most horses I rode because he wasn’t super long. He didn’t really feel too tall either while I was riding him which I suppose is good. He made the jumps look REALLY tiny haha. But he is certainly a nice horse. I just have to be a lot more disciplined next time riding him – a lot of beginners ride him so he wants to get away with things, and once my brain got working and was all “hey remember your outside leg and your outside hand to keep the shoulder from bulging instead of using your inside hand like your riding a 2 yr old that doesn’t steer? Yeah. You should do that”, we worked better. I just really need to be disciplined in getting back to the gym too. But I did notice that Georgio had a left drift and Sox had a left drift. Amber can have a left drift too. Hmm. Coincidence? Nah, it’s all the horses (heavy sarcasm lol). It’s all me, so how about I remember that next lesson and don’t flail my elbows and forget about my left leg lol.
I have another lesson scheduled the same time in 2 weeks, and in between that I’m planning on another lesson with Trainer G. Hopefully I’ll have 4 lessons a month, so I’m going to give that a try and see if I can keep it at that or if I have to go down to 3 a month. It was certainly nostalgic being there that’s for sure. It was similar to the barn in Virginia where I first started riding at 6 years old. Talk about flashback lol. My muscles certainly sore after all that kicking, but I’m determined to keep up with my PT exercises, the gym and lots of sore-no-more lol. Hopefully what I’ll be able to do at the gym will be enough to help me be relatively better at riding these horses haha!