Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rainy day memories

Rain today. Nice & gentle, but too steady to play with the ponies.

We went for a walk last night. T rode out to the farm with me and went for a run while I fed. He still wasn't back when I was finished, so Sunny and I walked down the rode to meet him. I almost hopped on, but then decided that was probably a recipe for disaster. He was a bit up - storm coming in, and hadn't been out & about since they all took their little jaunt down the road earlier this spring.

But he minded his manners for the most part, got to eat some grass, and seemed happy enough to be out and about.

In the meantime, I'm keeping myself occupied paging through some old notebooks. Back in college I took lessons flat & jumping twice a week. It was a lot of fun, (and I probably rode a lot better then, too). I thought it would be fun to dig out my lesson journal...

Some days went better than others.
Jump Class Day 1 (3/1/95)

It's an elementary jump class, which means 1 step up from beginner [where I probably ought to have been!]. I started on Fame, who was being goofy about the ice on the roof, the twit! Ruth switched Alexandra and me halfway through so I wound up on Cruz. I'm not sure for whose benefity, but I sure did appreciate the change. I got to canter the small vertical on Cruz - he has a nice easy canter, but my legs were slipping a bit.

Short reins. fairly firm contact, and really leaning into him up to the jump helped. It felt good. I think I'm comfortable on him because he reminds me of Mingo. Maybe....
  1. Steady lower leg - it kept sliding
  2. Shoulders back and seat down at canter - look for the jump and then through it.
To be perfectly honest, jump days terrified me. But I persevered. We rode a mix of horses, some of which really were babysitters and would put you in the right spot at the right time without too much effort on our part. Some of them were work, plain & simple. It helped it you had more than one lesson on some of them, though - because after some reflection on what had gone wrong (or, less seldom, gone right), usually the second lesson was better.

Flat class had its own excitement to offer: Darryl for instance. Darryl was a big, awkward looking, no-mane Appaloosa with the homeliest face. (Remember the Bob Newhart show with Larry the neighbor? The one with two brothers named Darryl? Yeah, like that - LOL!)
Flat Class Day 4

Darryl. Ooh boy. We definitely had a better ride than the last time I rode him. Actually, today went pretty well. I just thought "Percy" real hard at him. It worked for the most part, although our canter was pretty ragged. The more uninvolved I got, the better response I got - I think the last time I was really nervous and uptight, and he knew it. I even managed a pretty good turn on the forehand. Yeah me!
  1. Don't get involved - as light contact as possible
  2. he gets strong on the long sides, but the coreners weren't as bad - staying uninvolved helped there, too
  3. He doesn't like the track, so keeping him straight takes a bit of leg - letting him keep to one or the other side and just keeping him straight there worked.
  4. He's not relaly dumber than dirt - sometimes it just seems like it.
I had over half of my flat lessons on Darryl that semester, and we kept improving together. He was a trail horse before they bought him to use for lessons. He had NO bend either direction, and a tendency to just keep going faster if you didn't keep him gathered up - which you had to do without getting in his face.

After a while, I started getting him a lot for jumping lessons, too - I think this was the first one.
Jump Class Day 8

Darryl and I jumped today. Sometimes separately, but we managed to come down together at least. He was really good, and I think it was one of the best jump lessons I've had all year - not that I did so many things right, but that when I was wrong he was off & then we could fix it. The last jump felt wonderful because we were together and I wasn't getting my signals crossed. We also had some of the best canter transitions we've managed this semester.
  1. eyes on the jump - think leg and don't drop him. He quickens, but doesn't take off - just go with him
  2. steady him after - the more off balance he is the more distracted and obnoxious he gets.
Fame & Cecelia had a great day, & so did Ki & Tympani - in fact, I think everyone had a super lesson! :)
Eventually I started asking for him, and had I had the means and place to keep him at the time, I might have tried to buy him.

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