You know what? I just deleted this entire post and I’m starting over. Why? Because the first five paragraphs were me defending my choice to take a lesson yesterday and screw that shit. Everyone makes their own choices and weighs the risks and benefits. I work in healthcare and I know the stats in my area. I’ve independently researched the virus, it’s effects and the real mortality rate and I’ve made my own choice. I won’t defend it and I won’t apologize for it. Shamers be warned. I won’t tolerate hate.
With a spattering of half days on my schedule thanks to a dwindling clientele who need to be seen at this time, I scheduled a lesson up at Trainer’s open air facility yesterday. Then Eeyore got hurt (he is still lame today but not fatally so so he should be on the mend. It’s hard to tell with him because he is a huge wimp) and I figured it would be canceled. Trainer didn’t let me off the hook that easy though and instead offered up her Appy mare to ride with the restrictions that I had to use her personal tack and not enter any of the buildings.
I’ll admit to being a tad nervous. I haven’t ridden any horse except Eeyore in 2 years and not that many prior to that. I was game though and soon found myself astride a very leggy, young Appy mare.
Trainer was a cold hearted killer from the start. In fact, she watched me mount and had me immediately dismount and do it again because I sat down a tad too heavy. I knew I was under fire from the get go. No more excuses because I was on a fire breathing Eeyore. This mare is well behaved and honest and now it was time to focus on me.
It took me a bit to adjust. The mare is lazy and requires a lot of leg to get going but then once there you can maintain. With Eeyore, his rhythm and pace are all over the place with no two strides the same. It’s a constant dance of moving him up, then bringing him back. Not so with her. I got her where I wanted her and then relaxed and let her go. It was….odd.
We did some flat work to warm up then started with a gymnastic line. Trainer apparently really liked what she saw on the flat because right before we started jumping she ran to get her phone to video. She never does that!
Anyway the line was a trot pole, vertical, two canter poles set one stride apart and then a gate. I was to trot in then let her canter the rest. It was scary at first. I’m not super brave and I’m definitely not trusting. She was honest though and did no wrong. The biggest thing I needed to learn was to get the trot in where I wanted and then….do nothing. That was hard. Eeyore loves to jump and gets very rushy and bully like in front of a jump so it’s a lot of sitting back and holding. With the mare though, all I had to do was set her up and flow.
It was pretty cool in fact. We did it a few times to get my relaxing and trusting her before we moved to a small course.
I have no media of the course. Maybe she didn’t take any. Maybe it sucked that bad she didn’t want to share it with me, who knows?
Started with a vertical, sharp right bend to a stack of barrels, continue right bend to four stride combo, then a sharp left bend to a gate. The first time I was a bit everywhere. My steering was nowhere to be found and I stuffed her through the turns. We made each jump but it was icky. The mare’s canter is weird. It’s not the rocking horse canter Eeyore has. It’s like there is a sideways motion included or something and I honestly had a rough time getting used to it.
As we cantered around the course, I always felt off balance and unsteady. Some of it was the saddle that was not my beloved deep seated BC, but most of it was trying to figure out her motion.
Trainer had me do it again and this time went way better. I really like the mare. Maybe not her wonky canter, but her brain is fantastic and you can tell Trainer has been the one to get her going under saddle. She really is foot perfect and is only 6. Trainer backed her at 5. We talked about all the things I need to do better (stop hunching my shoulders, stay more centered in the saddle, look ahead to where I want to go, stay in two point longer on the back side of the fence, etc..) and I think the plan for now is to take more lessons on the mare so I can work on myself. I’ll still ride Eeyore at home, once he is sound again, but for now it’s going to be me centric in lessons for a bit.