There I was sitting at work typing up a medical note Wednesday morning when a text came through from Trainer AB asking if I wanted to lesson that evening. She was supposed to be out of town so I was surprised by the text. A quick check with Dusty that he wouldn’t mind and I gave an enthusiastic yes! The time was set for 745pm and I even got Dusty and Wyatt to come watch. Be prepared for an onslaught of media.
Trainer AB came over after I unloaded to ask how my homework had been going. I told her that I’d been working hard on owning his outside and sitting up without letting him pull me down. He has responded by being way less of a bully with his head. I had also been working on the 42′ three stride canter exercise though I told her I kept getting a lovely and even four each time. Maybe I measured it wrong? And finally, I mentioned my tendency to stop riding as soon as an exercise is complete allowing him to veer off wherever he pleased and that I need to remember to ride every stride.
She was pleased that I had been working on it and had me do a quick single circuit walk before picking up the trot. Eeyore was in fine form and after only a single episode of him trying to shake his head and take charge, he quickly settled and got to work. The flat work was so smooth that she quickly had us working through the 42′ line first to the right:
And then to the left:
Really I’m just still so excited about my new found nonchalance about the canter transition. It’s a whole new thing for me! I could pick myself apart here, but screw that nonsense! I’m so happy to be where I’m at.
After a few go arounds both directions she had one major comment. Namely, his stride is really big and I need to focus on packaging him just a bit especially right before the poles as he tends to get excited and then expands his stride even more. Keeping him just a smidge more put together really helped with everything. She was overall very pleased with the progress and it turned out that I had set my exercise correctly at home. My error was in what I was counting as stride 1. I counted the landing as 1 and she started the stride after that. Either way I managed to get the same striding each time through.
Since that had gone well, she set a small cross rail with a placing pole in front and we came at it from a trot. The first time Eeyore paid exactly zero attention to it and we sorta plopped over it and zig zagged away so we came again and I actually used my leg and over we went. It was small and he could have cared less about putting effort in.
That went smoothly so she added a second cross rail one stride out.
I think she was expecting more issues from us to be honest, but Homeboy was being amazing and I was having a blast so had zero tension or fetal tendencies. It was all going swimmingly. After a few times through she said “Ok then. Here is your Grand Prix.” She raised the second element to a vertical and when I saw the height I turned to Dusty in the bleachers and said “She is trying to kill me!”
Eeyore is so brave and honest though. I took a deep breath and approached and while I was a bit more grabby with my hands in an attempt to make him crawl like a snail towards it, he popped over no issue.
Again, she seemed pleasantly surprised with us. I was grinning like a fool which seems to be a theme with these lessons. I was so proud of Eeyore and of myself. I told Trainer AB that that was the highest I have ever jumped and it felt so awesome.
Then I heard her say “Ok then. Here is your Grand Prix”
She wanted us to take the vertical with the plastic pipe around it going towards the barn. The actual exercise is a two stride combination of two of these jumps and the entire evil plan was to do this one as a single, then add the other one as a single going away from the barn and finish with the entire thing.
I was nervous. She reminded me that she had jumped him over that and he hadn’t cared at all. I reminded her that it was her in the irons and not me but I approached and….
He over jumped it so much and I got left very far behind.
It didn’t boost my confidence at all so when we came back around he ran out to the right and I did nothing to stop it. Trainer AB told me to come again.
He refused again. Something about me being a hollow backed, tipped forward fetus didn’t really scream “jump this obstacle Eeyore!” Shocking, I know.
Finally I pulled my big girl panties on and approached with meaning. When I felt him go right, I blocked him and made him stay in line with the jump and over we went!
I was so so so proud of him. All the refusal crap was 100% my fault. I was riding like a fetus and not helping him out one bit. A really nice thing about Eeyore is that his response to me being an idiot is to stop. If I’m flailing or left behind or feel out of balance he just quits. Which is fine for my wimpy ammy self as a safety feature but it does also mean I have to actually ride.
At that point it was clear we were done. Eeyore was huffing and puffing hard and all my adrenaline was used up. There was no reason to push the envelope after we had accomplished so very much already.
I thanked Trainer AB profusely for being her awesome self and for the amazing lesson. It is one for the books for sure!