The Trainer broke out all the standards for jump day on Monday! While she was setting up a whole course of bending lines and bounces, I let Belle loose in the arena so that she could run her pent up energy out. Then I took her back to the ready area, where another student—from here on we’ll call her JLB (Jump Lesson Buddy)—was tacking up. She was very nice and I look forward to getting to know her, especially since it was my last lesson with the Show Buddy because she has to attend to her working student duties on Monday mornings. 🙁
JLB hasn’t really started over fences yet (which is exciting, since I’ll have brand new horse to teach to jump soon, and it’s really fun to watch other riders progress), so we took a return to some basics for our warm up by counting down our strides leading up to some ground rails. It’s much easier now than when I first jumped, but I didn’t realize how impactful it was until the jumps went up to 2’0″ and the Trainer challenged us to count down into all of our jumps. My crest releases were cleaner and my decisions happened a lot faster.
When I was done with my lesson, I got Ezhno out and introduced him to the large, bright blue wing standards, our Seahawks-themed field goal standards, and a bunch of filler/flower boxes the Trainer had put into the course. He was unimpressed, so we quickly moved on to some conditioning work (long, low trotting) and some cantering. We fought over his left lead and then, after a few victories, we called it a day.
Tuesday was a straightforward day of more conditioning/cantering. Ezhno also had his first training ride. The Trainer (aka Trainer-M) threw out her back setting up our Monday course (whoops!), so her partner in crime Trainer-A had the first crack at him. She did awesome and I was super impressed (even if Ezhno was less than enthusiastic about how hard she made him work, ha ha).
Wednesday was my private lesson with Trainer-M, and I came in with a laundry list of things I wanted to work on with Ezhno. She combined three of my requests (circles, ground poles, and cantering) into one familiar exercise… the Circle of Death! We set out four ground rails, then she had me trot him over them in a large circle on a loose rein (so that he would have to figure out his balance himself). We picked up the canter and he actually did much better than we expected, even when we switched tracks and he had to do the exercise on the left lead. Once he was proficient enough at that, Trainer-M raised the ground rails and we tackled the exercise again at the trot.
The most exciting part of Wednesday, though, was when the Trainer told me that I could start riding Ezhno in my Monday jumping lessons on October 17th! One more jump lesson with Belle, and Ez will be ready to start tackling fences. 😀
Ezhno had his second round of vaccinations on Thursday morning. Then I saddled up in the dressage saddle with a new, longer iron length that the trainer recommended for my flat work. We did a lot of work off of the rail (circles, serpentines, figure 8’s, wandering aimlessly about, etc.). It was mostly trot work with some cantering thrown in, with my focus being on soft turns and good self-carriage. We rode for about an hour and a half, and by the time we were done he was very sweaty!
I cooled him off and then tried on a few different stable blankets borrowed from the lesson horses to check out possible sizes for a sheet to stop his winter coat from growing. I landed somewhere between a 72″ (too short) and a 78″ (too long).
Friday we did a lot of shopping at the Bony Pony‘s anniversary sale (more about that later) before we went to the stable to try everything on a very patient Ezhno. I also came out of the Bony Pony with a trial saddle, so I saddled him up and rode for about 45 minutes (he’d already had his training session that morning and was clearly very tired). It didn’t end up working out, but I did get a chance to ride Belle for 30 minutes, since she needed to be reminded of her manners before her lesson that evening.
I planned on giving him Saturday off, but I got called into work to cover for a sick coworker. Since the stable is only five minutes away from my work, I took him out for a light ride and we took Sunday as our official day of rest instead.