Browsed by
Category: Lesson Recaps

Lesson Recap: Embrace the Suck

Lesson Recap: Embrace the Suck

So apparently Monday just isn’t my day. 🙃

Our lesson started out… okay. I had a busy weekend, which meant that Raglan had a couple of days off. Sunday evening I came to the barn to make grain baggies and let him romp around in the arena to get some of his wiggles out, plus he had turnout Monday morning, so he should’ve been fine.

My normal lesson buddy was sick, so LJO (TrainerK?) hopped on a training horse while I warmed up. She rode alongside me while coaching me to push him forward and to use more inside leg through the corners to push him into the outside rein. She wanted square corners (#dressagestyle) and for my hands to stop wiggling (yeah, me too). Less micromanaging, more letting him fail“embrace the suck!”

During our flat work, Raglan felt a little bit #FIERCE. I rode conservatively. He was making me nervousgetting distracted by things outside, threatening to spook, acting snotty when I put on my inside leg, etc. I had a feeling that he needed a lungebut apparently I’m stupid, so we carried on.

safe to say he 100% definitely needed a lunge

When my head felt like it was about to burst, we moved onto the grid (crossrail-one-vertical-two-vertical-one-vertical). TrainerK had me experiment with my release (including one very funny line where I did an old school very dramatic all the way up the neck crest releaseshe was appalled LOL). She also pointed out the consequences of being left behind: if I wasn’t with him for the first jump, then I spent half the grid catching up and I didn’t have the ability to make decisions and provide him with input.

Raglan kept blasting through the grid at 100mph (and I kept smashing him into the wall at the end), so once I figured out how to stay active there was A LOT OF HALF HALTS. My last attempt at the grid was very well riddenI really held him back and told him to wait the whole way through, he was much more controlledand then we got to the end and he was like “LOL BYYYYEEEE”.

So TrainerK climbed aboard. Needless to say, his attitude did not improve.

So we’re in a SUCKTASTIC stage of training. His ego’s over-inflated. He thinks he knows better than the rider and he’s mad that we’re making him be more accountable. There are things that I could have done differently today (lunged him, done circles between grid elements, gotten more assertive about halting, etc.), but in the end this is just something we’re going to have to work through.

I signed Raglan up for a training ride (AKA an ASS-KICKING) while I’m gone this weekend. With any luck I won’t have to put him into full time training to make it through this.

Lesson Recap: Recovering After a Fall

Lesson Recap: Recovering After a Fall

Twenty minutes and only a handful of jumps into my very first lesson with LJO as my new teacher, Raglan hopped over the second part of a tiny line, dropped his head between his knees, and proceeded to dolphin buck me into the dirt (while I chanted “you a**hole, you a**hole, you a**hole” as LOUDLY as possible).

“who me? no, i is a v. goo boy remember?”

I was pissed. More than that, though, I was shaken. I told LJO that I didn’t want to do it anymore, but she just gave me The Look (LOL), so we jumped the line again. It went fine.

“You’ve schooled it and it’s done now,” LJO said. “Let it go and move on.”

But even though I was physically unscathed, my confidence plummeted. My mind kept replaying the fall. I felt like I couldn’t trust Raglan not to pull the same move again. Every time we trotted up to a jump I found myself grabbing at his face, just so that I could be 100% sure that his nose didn’t come below his chest.

I knew LJO was right and I needed to let it go and move past it, but my anxiety wouldn’t let me. I held him back as much as possible. I kept half-halting, even when I didn’t need to. Like the saint he is, Raglan went slower and slower until he was barely trotting the jumpslike they were tiny raised cavaletti.

And then we put the course together and we made it to the oxer.

Halfway over the oxer, I started to wonder what the hell I was doing. Somewhere between the moment his front feet left the ground and the moment his back feet touched down, my thoughts petered out and my grit took over. I landed with my leg on and pushed him forward. We attacked the next fences.

We ended the lesson feeling good about our comeback. I was super happy with what I’d accomplished emotionally! Six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to continue jumping after a fall like that.

Back to jumping our usual 2’3″ fences yesterday!

In the days since, my confidence still hasn’t been quite what it used to bebut that’s okay. I’m not sure my anxiety will ever be entirely gone, but over the past couple of years I’ve made huge progress in learning how to manage and overcome it. I’m proud of myself for overcoming Monday’s setback. 💗

Lesson Recap: Impulsion +1

Lesson Recap: Impulsion +1

You probably didn’t know this about me, but I’m psychic. Like three days before my lesson with TrainerA on Thursday (two lessons in one week? CRAZY, I KNOW), I decided it would be fun to try to push Raglan’s trot out. EXTENSION RIGHT? But I put my leg in to send him forward and… nothing. Or he’d jump right into a canter instead of stretching himself out the correct way.

TrainerA riding Raglan in the more “up” sort of frame I’ve been riding him in lately

As much as I love our weekly jump sessions, it was definitely time for a good flat lesson. I told TrainerA that I wanted to work on skills that get us closer to smooth flying changes. After watching us warm up, she decided to focus on pushing Raglan’s butt further underneath himself by putting more power into his trot.

It didn’t matter what I did, though, Raglan wouldn’t stretch. Eventually he got fed up with my spurs and fake-spooked in disapproval. I rode through it, then dismounted and handed his reins over to TrainerA.

TrainerA letting his neck stretch down and really pushing him to bring his butt underneath

After TrainerA loosened him back out for me, I got back on and she coached me through finding his more powerful working trot. The solution, surprisingly enough, was to take my leg off. I was closing a part of my thigh that was preventing him from moving out properly. The moment I stopped gripping with my thigh/knee zone, he started offering more engagement.

TrainerA also had me riding with my hands wider apart to help stabilize the bit more and prevent Raglan’s head from wobbling around (a bad habit I’ve taught him, since I tend to seesaw when I get nervous).

“dis flatwork stupid, u stupid, trainer lady STOOPID, i done nao” – Raglan

We carried the same concepts over to the canter, where I quickly discovered that I need to be sitting more often (usually I ride in a half seat) and that his right lead canter needs some major work. He still feels fast and out of control to the right; it’s a symptom of him not being as lifted as he should be. We need to improve this before we go back to our flying changes!

Trying to find the same spot TrainerA had, not quite there but getting closer…

I’ve got a lot of good flatwork stuff to work on now 👏

Enjoying the blog?

You can stay up to date on our adventures by having new posts delivered straight to your inbox!