I had jump lessons! Yay! One was on Dec 13, and the other one Jan 10, but at least I’m finally getting around to writing about it? lol I have helmet cam footage for my Dec 13 lesson, but I was running a bit late to my second lesson, so it was either go back to my apartment and grab my helmet camera or get caffeine. Well, I chose caffeine. And once the lesson was done, I wished I’d skipped it and gotten my camera. Ugh. 20/20, I guess.
Either way, both lessons were good. I got to try out a new pony – western pleasure wasn’t the right discipline for him, so now he’s having a blast in his (very) new and (recent) transfer to the hunter ring. He’s absolutely so adorably sweet, and amazingly enough he’s like this crazy-great mix between Amber and Whisper. I am in love. I may or may not have pestered Genevive about where she got him, because he’s 16 hands too and feels like my kind of horse.
The best thing, too? I haven’t gotten my jump saddle made narrower yet (will I ever? I have no idea LOL), but it’s absolutely perfect for his QH shoulders and wider back. (Meaning I need a horse like him because I am deathly afraid that next-horse will need a different saddle lol). Soxie felt longer but more adjustable, with a huge engine if you only thought about it. Which – of course – she was a jumper mare, but I really liked the way that felt. Wyatt feels shorter but less adjustable, with an engine that needs consistent reminders to stay forward. I feel more confident going to a fence on a horse like Soxie, but I feel safer on Wyatt because he’s so steady. He might be slower, lazier, with a “go” button that doesn’t feel forward, but you can feel that he has no stop in him whatsoever and he’s good off of the ground. This was especially apparent in my second lesson.
So, first lesson. I was mostly just getting used to him, but Genevive gave us some super fun exercises to do. She had set up a five stride line (blue x’s), a cavaletti bounce (green lines), and a single vertical with a loooooong approach. She gave me a bit of background with him – he’s generally lazy, gets wiggly before jumps so you just need to enforce forward, but he’s a good guy and will jump anything from anywhere. And he totally gave me that feeling. Despite being wiggly, I never felt like he wouldn’t jump, and he has such a rhythmic canter that it’s the easiest I’ve ever been able to count strides in a line.
He was really good through the first two crossrails, and once he saw the bounce he was ready to go, but coming off the end for the long approach to the vertical he’d get really sucked back. It caused us to miss our distance the first time. The second time around, after a tap-tap on my boot, he went forward enough and the distance came up flawlessly.
Most of the lesson was us getting used to one another, and ensuring that he stayed forward. He had a bit of trouble continuing through the corners at the canter, but he was so steady whenever going over those crossrails from a trot that I always felt confident going towards them. All in all, it was a fun lesson on a new lesson pony with some super fun exercises!
The next lesson I was super excited for, but it ended up being a bit of a blah ride. I was having a blah day, got really frustrated by what felt like lack of forward for Wyatt, and that translated to him. He didn’t really want to go forward, and he’d throw his head and bulge left, but then had a right drift so we kept going in crooked to the jumps. I just got frustrated with him this ride, and it showed in how not-smooth I rode that day.
The only good thing I can attest to that ride was that I really got my knuckles in his neck and grabbed mane for our exercise. I felt a bit behind most of the time, but considering I have a tendency to crouch with my shoulders and bring my hands up to hang weirdly in mid-air, I was happy that I was solidly in a grab-mane, slightly-left-behind mentality the whole ride. Genevive had set up a cool one-stride exercise of a crossrail to a vertical and two cavaletti angled to the side of each of them. I’d trot in the one stride, circle around and hit the cavaletti.
Wyatt was a good boy despite me getting frustrated. I wanted to hit the combo straight, with forward impulsion, but he’d throw his shoulder left cause he didn’t want to go forward, then when I’d block him he’d haul right, so it was interesting getting to the crossrail for one stride to an upright vertical. We had some okay flat work before, but as I said the ride was meh. I’m a little blurry on everything we did this lesson (thank god I had helmet cam footage for my December lesson or I wouldn’t remember anything lol), but I still learned a lot, despite it not being my best.
She had me end both ways off of the one stride to hit the other cavaletti, so we kept Wyatt on his toes a bit about whether we would go left and circle around to the left cavaletti, or go right and jump the right one. He was super solid through the one stride despite how crooked we’d get going in. It was really cool to feel him get in there and get out over it, especially since Genevive made the out vertical a solid height. I don’t know how tall it was, but it was taller than she’s normally had me jump, even with Soxie. But yeah it was an awesome feeling riding that combo because he was so game to do it, and it felt so cool. Which is why I was so glad I was just grabbing mane so I wasn’t in his way.
The one stride and the cavaletti all rode well, and I feel I rode them well once I was in them, but definitely the in between was where my frustration was a lot more apparent if he wouldn’t canter, or he’d suddenly start wiggling before the crossrail. I’d get hunched, try to pull him or something, and I’d execute our transitions badly. Looking back at the videos from the last lesson to this one I think the reason he got so wiggly was that the crossrail faced directly away from his stall, and he definitely sucked back towards the barn.
Towards the end though, he really wasn’t wanting to hold his right lead, so Genevive had me canter a circle around the one stride before pointing him towards the cavaletti. Our goal was to approach, straighten without him swapping leads, and pop over the cavaletti. He was so good though, and did it great on the first try, so we stopped there. So while it certainly wasn’t my best ride, I did learn a lot through it.
Stay tuned for my next lesson!