Words escape me. If I haven’t said how much I adore Trainer AB yet…I do…very, very much. Also, one Big Orange Butthead too.
Last night at 845 pm, I climbed aboard my Doofus for a lesson. It was late, it was dark and I almost canceled a dozen times during the day due to being exhausted and run down. Boy am I glad I didn’t. It is worthy to note here that I had ridden him on the flat working on the 42′ three stride canter pole exercise at home the night before and then hadn’t ridden him in the 10 days prior due to life and things. A year ago (you all tired of reading that yet??) a ride after a 10 day break would have been a disaster. Not now though. So anyway..there I was with a horse I had last seriously ridden 11 days prior at the show, then a quick 30 minute flat school the night before, and now we were in a lesson. Trainer AB’s lessons are no joke either. Come prepared to work your tail off.
My warm up went really well and I am now graduated to being able to control the warm up all on my own. She will make some comments here and there but I’m responsible for how much and when I walk, trot and canter. She noted that he is getting a lot more balanced and staying on all four feet and under himself these days. While I can’t see it, I can feel it especially in the canter which is now infinitely easier to sit as I have a horse up in front of me instead of plowing down.
Then we moved on to the dressage portion. I cheated here and started left, my better side. Folks, holy crap. He was round, he was bent, he stayed on the circle and when we cantered? I have never felt something like that before. He was using himself, he was uphill, he was balanced, he was slow…he was incredible. Trainer AB had a grin that split her face for us.
Can I just ignore the right and move to the jumping portion? As amazing as the left was the right sucked that bad. He would.not.bend. Or if he did, he would not stay on the circle. Or if he did, he would not slow down. It was a hot mess express. When she finally let us quit she said “I don’t even know what to tell you. You are using all your aides and doing what I am saying.” To which I responded “Maybe I’m stronger in the right rein and pulling him in without realizing it or maybe I’m not sitting straight” And then for the first time ever the ever patient and self deprecating Trainer AB looked at me and said “Or maybe he could be a little obedient and do what you are asking”
Ha!! That will be the day LOL! Take note Big Orange Butthead…you are now on Trainer ABs bad side and I didn’t think she had one heheheh…
She asked if I was ready to jump and both Eeyore and I lit up. That boy LOVES to jump. We started with simple ground poles at the trot which he decided to jump over. Trainer AB showed yet again why I adore her so much and said “You know, I don’t care and don’t make a big deal if he jumps or canters the trot pole. We will just calmly come again. I could do trot poles 50 times if that is what it takes for him to trot it nicely. That is on him” Really, her approach to training is my favorite thing ever. Thankfully it did not take 50 times before he chilled out and trotted them so we could move on.
Our next exercise was a simple cross rail bounce. I say simple…who am I??? We approached and he bounced right through no big deal both directions and Trainer AB said “huh…he is bored with this…lets move on…do you want to do the pipe tonight?”
Surprising even myself I said that I did and I meant it. She had us go to the skiny pipe flanked by barrels towards the barn first and I’m a bit embarrassed to say I flaked and pulled him of fit the first time. Don’t worry though. I yelled at myself for it and circled around and re approached without her having to say a word. The thing that haunts me still in jumping is backing off in front of the fence instead of attacking it. This stems from my Gem days where she would lock on and say yes, yes, yes until the very millisecond of take off and then somehow contort herself into a pretzel and zoom away. Attacking the jump was not smart unless I wanted to jump it by myself. So I learned to back off.
Eeyore says yes to EVERYTHING. But I have to back him up and support him over some of the more unusual fences with a giant squeeze. You know the typical more leg scenario. I’m learning how this feels and how to do this.
The second time I growled at myself and over we went! A bit over dramatic perhaps but it worked and we got it done. Over the pipe of my nightmares!!!! I was elated. She had us go over it a few more times towards the barn and then a few times away from the barn until it became a boring fence for both of us. I walked into the center to thank her thinking we were through.
She then told me to do the coop. The COOP. The big, huge, super solid coop. She wanted it only away from the barn and said she would explain it later. I approached at the trot and pulled on his face pretty hard but he still went over. He clobbered it with his front feet which shook me a little. I really ahte the fact that he doesn’t seem to mind hitting the fences. Trainer AB yelled out “I hope he learned to be more careful with his legs. Come again!” This time I put my leg on and stayed out of his face and he went over clean with the front but clobbered it with his hind legs.
“Well, at least he learned something the first time. Come again and maybe he will lift all 4 legs this time”
He did!! It was a really smooth attempt and she said it was picture perfect.
I thought we were done until I heard her famous line “Now, your Grand Prix for the night is….to take the coop towards the barn at the trot, get 5 canter strides to the pipe and exit over that. Do that nicely and you can be done”
Uh…do the massive coop to the pipe of doom? Are you serious???
I approached the coop but Butthead was FEELING it now. He was proud of himself and being a cocky Butthead. I settled him as best I could in the trot and we flew over that coop, landed in the canter, somehow my brain stayed on and I counted the 5, and then we were out over the pipe and I was nearly in tears I was so damn happy with Eeyore and Trainer AB. I looked at her and her face was split from ear to ear with a grin that warmed my heart.
As I dismounted to loosen the girth she told me that my homework is to find a schooling HT to sign up for and text her the dates so she can block it out. I’ll be getting right on that.
Folks….I don’t even know what to say. I’m so proud of Eeyore and how much he has improved. I am so proud of myself and the confidence that I have found somewhere along the way. I am thankful every time I throw a leg over Eeyore for finding Trainer AB and all she has done for us. Life is a wild ride and worth every single up and down.