Finally getting caught up on some posts, so bear with me! I have spent most of the last 2 weeks listening, reading, and putting energy into things that, I hope, will help the greater good. But, as we all know, horses do not care what is going on in the world, so life with May continued!
Last week, I showed up INCREDIBLY sore to my Tuesday night lesson. Gyms reopened in KY on June 1, and I am getting back into strengthening my body. However, that comes with some uncomfortable side effects as my body, which had convinced itself was in retirement, was dragged back into work. It feels great though, and I already feel so much stronger.
It did mean, though, that I was a bit off my game for my lesson. The previous week, I had handed the reins over to my trainer for a pro ride. Why? Because the new tall boots I had ordered broke within the first 5 steps of wearing them… sooo I didn’t have boots to ride in. Fun times. Either way, it was great to see that the issues I have been having with May being inconsistent is just… May being inconsistent. Over the last 6 or so months, we have completely changed the way she goes. She is more forward thinking and wants to really cover the ground, but it’s still a new way of going for her. As a result, the way I need to support and guide her changes almost constantly. BUT we are still making progress.
So back to this lesson. The main grid set up this lesson was Lainey’s “Hello Outside Rein”, which we appropriately nicknamed “Holy Outside Rein.”
Obviously… we never made it that big at all. Honestly, this was really hard for us. It was that combination of staying forward but balanced and rideable. We were able to do it, but it took a ton of concentration and focus from both of us.
We integrated it into a couple of courses, which mostly went well. At this point, I would say 90% of our jumps are really good… but we tend to get 1 ugly jump each course. This is usually either do to a lack of concentration on my part (I get a bit frantic), or May making some change 2/3 way through a course. Either getting suddenly quiet or suddenly hot. Again though, I think consistency will just come now that all the pieces are in place.
Once we executed a fairly simple course, Mandy had up do another course, but this time, we incorporated a one stride (oxer to vertical). The first time I came to it, I realized that some raised cavalettis at the end of the arena were on my line. I decided to circle instead of coming to the fence on an angle. Because… yeah 1 strides are hard for us.
I’m not really sure why, but that little hiccup… that had really nothing to do with me or May, really threw me. Suddenly I was like… lightheadedly nervous. I don’t know if I didn’t eat enough that day or it was a result of feeling weak from working out or what… but suddenly everything felt shakey and crappy.
We did end up doing the course with the one stride, and it was fine. We took a rail coming into the combination due to getting a bit flat into it. But honestly, I am ok with that. I left feeling like we did ok, but still not good. And… I am not sure that’s really reality. Like I go back and watch the videos, and they are not perfect… but they are really good.
Did we struggle with the gymnastic? Yes. Did we struggle with the one stride? A bit. Was it perfect? No. But I made way more good decisions than bad ones and May felt game and responsive the whole time. I do think things will continue to improve as we get more rounds under our belts. Already though, I can tell that the consistency is coming along.