There were seven of us riding and for the most part we were on our usual mounts. The plan was to do some schooling and then if we wanted we could switch horses and go through the final exercise again with a different horse.
I had a lack luster warm up where I failed to get Tucker moving off my leg. Big mistake. G had us all start off by posting trot on a large circle. Man did Tuck ever make me work to keep him going. I had to keep making space to the inside to allow others to pass us. I know he’s got a shorter stride but come on Tuck you can do better than that.
We focused on bend. Making sure we could only see the corner of their eye not the whole side of their face. Using our inside leg to keep them up right and bending and outside leg to keep them from falling out. G stressed the importance of rhythm and proper position.
He then had us, one at a time, sit trot a small circle around him while he made corrections to our position in the saddle. While others were on the circle I took this opportunity to kinda do a bit of my own thing and get Tucker responding appropriately to my leg.
We changed directions and G had us cross our irons. Ugh! I was expecting this to be more awful than it actually was due to the fact I haven’t been dropping my stirrups much all summer. This was in part because G made me understand something that I probably should have known and is probably obvious to everyone else. When you drop your stirrups you stretch your leg long. Yes I knew that. But you leave it long, you don’t try to bring it back into any kind of position resembling what it looks like when you have stirrup. “Your hip should drop, when you have full extension drop your heels”. Well crap! I’ve been doing it wrong. No wonder I hated no stirrup work so much.
He had us start with sitting trot. I really got the feel for what it should feel like and completely relaxed into it. G commented that this position (with my leg long) really works for me. He was right, it totally opened up my angle and made me sit straight and square.
We did a little bit of posting trot and G said if we felt comfortable we could canter. A couple people were on horses that they don’t normally ride so I think that comment was for them… although G knows I’m a wussy and sometimes doesn’t know what I’ll be comfortable with and caters to my ridiculousness. Love him for it. He always seems to know just how much to push. But Tuck and I were game. At this point in the ride we communicating properly again. A double cluck from me and we were off. It’s also at this point in the ride that my hips started screaming NO. Clearly now that I’ve figured this no stirrup stuff out I need to work on it more.
Then he had us all trot into a little vertical. He stopped us after we had all gone over it once and commended us on the fact that we all gone over it without breaking to canter. Not one of us. We popped over the same vertical a couple times at a canter and then moved on to working on lines.
G had set up a 6 stride line with a pole perpendicular to the jumps in the middle and just right of centre. One at time he wanted up to jump the purple cross rail and canter the line in a direct 6, canter back around and using an indirect rein bend out around the pole for 7 strides. This is where we failed. Tuck and I cantered in for a direct 7. G made us come back around for the 6. Then we bent out for a 6. Again we cantered back around for the 7. Ugh! Embarrassing. I have trouble figuring out where our canter is.
Final exercise: right rein to blue vertical, rainbow vertical bend to white one stride, halt in the corner and do a turn on the forehand or haunches, trot the green and orange, bend to the green, bend to the blue, red and orange oxer rollback to the rainbow.
I took one jump at a time and worked methodically through the whole course. The only thing that gave us issue was the turn. We never really did either a turn on the forehand or the haunches. Tuck decided to protest lateral movements and I can’t be sure I was asking correctly. I need more flat lessons to work on that kind of thing.
Tucker and I ended on that and I opted to not switch horses. After 2 hours in the saddle we were both done. Everyone else switched though and it was a riot watching them all sort out a different ride. Tuck and I parked by the first jump and pretty much everyone made some sort of exclamation after the jump. It was pretty funny and awesome to watch.
Have you had any duh moments lately?