Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cantering Jumps and a Field Trip

Well, one jump, but I'll take it. On Monday I was tacking up and a horse trailer pulled in--turns out Mary was going to give a lesson just as I was about to get on. Oops. But not to worry, the lesson lady and Mary are both awesome and thought it would be best for the lesson (and for Lex) if we went in at the same time. It worked out super great for me, because the lady warmed up over a pile of poles on the ground, and then one x, and then a line of cross rails, and Mary just pointed at stuff and told me to go over it, too.

Lex warmed up well in spite of the fact that Mary was still dragging the ring when I got on, and Lex gets weird about other horses walking up to the ring while we're riding. She wants to stop and stare. Might have been a bad decision, but today I just let her do it. Within a couple minutes, she was relaxed and ready to go back to work.

She was super good on the flat: very few discussions about rhythm or contact, and we practiced changing directions and putting her shoulders in the new outside rein. It was good to have to ride around another horse because I couldn't just get stuck on one circle or direction.

Lex cantered away from the pile of poles the first time we did it, but it was a reasonable canter. After that, she trotted away from those. She always cantered away from the cross rails, but never anything nuts. We just trotted into one or the other going out of the line so that she didn't have to do two at once, and I figured that's where we'd leave it, but then Mary told me to go ahead and trot into the line and ride the out also. I figured--correctly--that Lex would canter, so I just trotted in as slowly as we could manage and then the canter out was balanced and appropriate, not a runaway canter. We quit on that and I was super proud of her. This feels like progress!

On Tuesday I had an impromptu lesson in which we got BY FAR our best canter work yet. I could sit on her in the canter because she was balanced enough that there was something to sit on, and we could do circles and canter all the way around the ring and it was just so lovely, both leads. M encouraged me to find moments to let go and allow her to be in self-carriage, which Lex likes when she's balanced (but which she forgets when she's having a temper fit).

We gave her a break after that to walk around on a bit of a long rein. The plan was that I'd pick up a nice trot and hop over our cross rails again, but Lex had decided she'd had quite enough and had behaved and so she didn't need to play that game. She threw an absolute hissy fit, so the jumping plan was scrapped. Oh well. We got the trot back where it needed to be and let it go from there.

Tuesday afternoon, M was taking a couple horses to a Richard Lamb clinic, so we threw Lex on the trailer to let her eat grass at a new farm. She got really stressed out on the trailer, but got off the trailer fine. She was kind of up for about ten minutes, but once she realized they make grass at this farm too, she settled right in. Before too long, she was the most relaxed of the three horses we brought, and was nickering at M's geldings like she was reassuring them. It was great. I was very proud of her.

Now I'm off to go have a hack with M and hope that Lex doesn't decide that riding outside the ring is scary. Fingers crossed!


  1. Knowing Lex through your writing, she'll be a star :P

  2. Ha. Courage hit his NOPE moment in our last lesson too. Riding through that is always fun, right?