Two days before my lesson with TrainerM, this is what I posted on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
DEAR STEPHANI: You didn't buy a pleasure horse, you bought an ATHLETE. He doesn't want to putz around walk/trot, he wants to WORK. Stop getting nervous if your warmup is sucky and just canter/jump the damn horse, OK? Also, for all that is holy put your SHOULDERS BACK 🙈 #toomuchchill #getbacktowork #youslacker
SHOULDERS BACK. In all caps. Needless to say, I wasn’t at all surprised when one of TrainerM’s first criticisms during my lesson was that I needed to stick my boobs out and push my shoulders back more.
“You know how in yoga there’s those two poses, the cat and the cow?” TrainerM said, arching her back in demonstration. “I need you to be less cat, more cow.”
One of the students had set up a small course. TrainerM had me stay in my two point (yaaaaay muscles) and come into all the fences at the trot (a good challenge for Raglan, since he has to work more to rock back and lift his front end up when he’s at a slower pace). I focused on staying forward, pushing my chest out, and keeping my leg on whenever he got distracted by the farm next door.
The first time we went through the outside line, he landed from the first element and went hard left. I pulled his nose back onto the track I wanted it and kicked him forward. He buckled down and got serious about his job, giving me a very nice jump over the second part of the line. Landing and going straight is so important. He made a couple more small mistakes, but I gave him the room to learn from them without letting him take advantage of me and I think he came away from it with a better understanding of his job.
It’s been hard to get back to work after having a few very chill weeks! I only had the endurance to jump for ~30 minutes. My cardio was okay, but my left leg started giving up after so much two point.
Good news, though: I’m officially back on the weekly lesson schedule! Raglan and I will be joining a Monday group jump session with TrainerM for the foreseeable future. It’s going to be nice to have an exercise set up for us every week. I think it’s going to give us something to work for everyday and keep us on track and progressing! I’ve really been missing that structure in my life.