Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rock and Roll

It must be spring, because the jump schools are coming faster now than I can keep up with writing them. I have an article in the data analysis process, so I'm a little tied up at the times I normally can write (which is rare enough anyway). I'll do my best to stick with it, though, because each lesson feels like a big leap forward right now.

Mo had another jump school on Monday, Red had one on Wednesday, and Mo will have another one on Friday. And then Mo goes to a baby jumper show on Sunday to trot around the puddle jumpers and be the cutest horse on the premises.

Not from the school, but cutest ever.
Also, the Edgewood breastcollar clearly doesn't fit, ha.
I guess Red can have it back.

I'll focus on Mo's lesson today and write a separate post for Red, because they were very different lessons even though the jumps were the same.

This time, only the warmup fence started as a cross rail. After two passes over it, it became a vertical, but two holes lower than pictured below--both verticals went up to what you see after he'd jumped them twice and the oxers stayed the same size the whole time. He started out perfect. I trotted this vertical and the next one a couple of times, and then M had me trot a little course. I was still meant to trot the liverpool (rails down) and the skinny (cross rail). We got through that fine, but I HAVE to be careful about my eye. When it's a vertical, keep your eye on the top rail.

When we schooled last week, I thought to myself, "Gee, maybe next month we'll jump the rocks!!"

Nah. When M is around, there's no dilly dallying. We don't rush horses, but there was no reason Mo couldn't jump the rocks today. Feeling only slightly nauseated, I found the neck strap with my pinky and approached this one. He should have had a stop the first time, but because I occasionally suck a lot, it turned into a run out. Do you want to make M mad? Be me and have a run out. She gets on my case HARD about it. After I got him over the jump (no further problems with stops or run outs the rest of the lesson) and did another set, she said, "I want you to know that that was my grumpy voice." I said, "Oh, I know." I need to ride better. If M let me get away with dumb beginnerish mistakes, I'd never improve. I love her. 

Rock of death
If one rock is bad, you'd think two rocks would be worse, but nope.
Hopped over it the first time, albeit with some baby wiggles.

 Note: I think that this is sometimes where peoples' gender biases can come into play. Plenty of people love a curmudgeonly old man coach. Myself included--Chris is definitely a curmudgeon. It makes them feel like they've accomplished something when they get praise from such a person (legit) and it seems to be a rite of passage for a bunch of people, like we're all getting our own version of Jack LeGoff. All of that is fine, but if you like a cranky old guy coach, you should also appreciate a cranky lady coach. M is the most badass person I know, and while she's a very very kind and generous person, she does not let the riders who she knows are serious make stupid mistakes. Adult amateurs who just want to plunk around Novice on their sweet middle-aged packers? She's not going to be snarky at them EVER. But young riders and people like me who are clearly very invested in success are gonna get the "get the hell out there and get it done" lesson. THANK. GOD. As Denny Emerson said, a trainer like that is more valuable to your riding than diamonds and rubies.

The liverpool went up to a crossrail oxer. Speaking of timing and finding your eye, when it was just an open ditch, she told me to look where the horse's feet should land. Once it got bumped up to an oxer, I was to look at the back rail like normal.

Mo could not give two shits about the liverpool.

We trotted and cantered the liverpool each time, but stuck with trotting the skinny just because I didn't want to show him the run out, and we do not yet own the canter. I think the height of the skinny was about the same as the other verticals, but the dead-on accuracy required to jump it on a very green horse made it ride a little bigger, and he rubbed it out of the cups the first time. I just had him under-powered in my attempt to get in the middle of it. I'm unconcerned.

Things I was happy about: We cantered everything except the skinny, and while it took me some circles to get the canter organized at times, we DID get it together eventually; we only had one issue with evasion; the trot work was on point; he had to become a better horse by virtue of making up for a mistake or two on my part; we were relaxed; my arms stayed soft in front of the jumps.

Things I wasn't happy about to work on: letting the damn horse run out CANNOT HAPPEN AGAIN; getting our lines straighter; not letting my concern that he'll spook at the rocks result in him spooking at the rocks; not asking so many questions during the lesson that I drive M crazy (Chris loved it, M hates it).

So all in all, I'm pretty thrilled with Mo yet again. This was basically a beginner novice school. We are in no way ready to go jump around at BN, but having done this will be confidence building for the 18" classes on Sunday for sure. The main takeaway is that I just have to ride like I know what I'm doing and Mo will fill in the rest. I think I rode better than I had in the last lesson, but the day I get to be Bill Steinkraus is the day I hang up my half chaps and end on a high note. There's always another steeple to chase.



    Pretty excited for the show too. :-)

  2. very exciting for Mo to go to his first show! glad you had a good lesson too - sometimes that oopsie moment kinda has to happen to kick things into another gear... or at least that's how it is for me lol

  3. Weeeeeeee what a bae, the shine off him in that first pic is 100% swoon worthy. Sounds like a great lesson & I hope ye have fun on sunday

  4. Your baby is wayyyy more brave than my mare. :) Can't wait to hear about his first show! Too cute!

  5. Way to go! And I'm excited to hear about Mo's first show. I'm already dreaming about my guy's first show... Dandy's first show was not a great experience for either of us. :)

  6. I love when my trainer doesn't let me get away with shit and tells me to get it together. Even more valuable to me than a curmudgeonly old trainer saying anything is a woman I respect telling me "good girl." Dunno why, but it makes me shine inside.

  7. Yay!! Rockin' lessons, so awesome. He is quite brave and you're clearly doing great as a team.