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Category: Lesson Recaps

Lesson Recap: Our First Bounce

Lesson Recap: Our First Bounce

Sunday morning Raglan and I had a #crashandburn moment. I hadn’t planned on jumping him, but another boarder had a couple jumps set up and she put one down to 2’0″ for me when she was done. We trotted our way up to it, but he was so busy listening to the ducks next door that his head wasn’t in the game and he slammed on the brakes, took a nosedive down towards the jump, and barely managed to scramble back onto his feet at the last second. I ended up sitting on his neck, but otherwise unscathed.

We made it over the jump eventually, but it definitely scuffed his confidence

The next day, TrainerM set up a bounce for our lesson. Raglan’s never been over a bounce. The first was a cross rail and the second was a little vertical, but despite the tiny sizes I had a feeling it would be a big challenge. Still, he warmed up nicely, and he popped over a lone vertical without trouble.

My gut wasn’t wrong, though. Raglan went over the first part, then brake-checked me at the second. My leg wasn’t forward enough and I got thrown over his shoulder. I swan dived straight towards the jump, but managed to kick free and land on my feet before my face could smash into the pole. We got a round of applause, then I knocked the jump over and forced Raglan the Cow to walk over the whole thing with me.

I didn’t get my unplanned dismount on video (booooo!), but TrainerM dropped parts of the jumps down and eventually Raglan figured out how to go over the bounce like a proper horse.

Afterwards I put Raglan on the lunge line and handed him over to TrainerM. We put the bounce up to two verticals and sent him over it riderless. It was a great experience for him! He got to figure out his feet without me there to pressure him. We even put the rails up a couple of holes and he did a great job bounding over them. I want to schedule a time with TrainerM to set up a grid for him to free jump one of these days!

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ohhhhh I DO LIKE DIS 😀

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Because of how athletic and savvy Raglan is, it can be hard to remember that he’s really green over fences. There are so many things that he needs to experience before he’s a confirmed jumper. It’s important to follow my instincts and remember that it’s okay to put the jumps down and go back to the basics. It’s easier to set him up for success from the beginning than it is to rebuild his confidence after the fact!

Lesson Recap: Right Shoulder Up

Lesson Recap: Right Shoulder Up

This week I made the questionable decision to give Raglan Sunday off so that I could spend the day sleeping, getting a pedicure, and finishing up some stuff that has been trapped on my to-do list for weeks. Raglan’s a monster after a day of down time, so I got to the barn early on Monday so that he could spend a couple of hours getting his sillies out in a turnout paddock. I told myself I’d get some writing done while he was outside, but instead I ended up just watching him play.

I put him on the lunge line after he was tacked up, about thirty minutes before our lesson. I like to be on Raglan early so that we have time to get warmed up and are 100% ready to get started when TrainerM arrives. As a broke amateur, nothing is worse than a lesson that’s wasted because I have to get off in the middle of it to lunge my stupid hot horse. I take that hour of instruction time seriously.

His warmup went fab. I’ve started cantering him earlier in our warm up. I was worried that introducing the canter too early would just get him revved up, but instead it really helps him settle down and get to work.

Now that I’m back on a weekly schedule, I’ve started lessoning with one of the younger students. She and I get along super well, plus we both ride OTTBs (her family’s horse is Raglan’s neighbor!) and are jumping similar heights. It’s nice to have someone to trade off with so that I can take walk breaks LOL.

TrainerM asked us what we wanted to work on. My new lesson buddy wanted to do flatwork, but I really want to focus in on more jumping. I thought about our flatwork, though, and I knew I also wanted to improve the bounce in Raglan’s right lead canter to help with his right to left lead changes. TrainerM started pulling out cavaletti and I think that made us both happy.

The goal was to make it through without swapping leads. Raglan’s right shoulder tends to drop, which means that to keep that shoulder up I had to hold tightly to my right rein. The first few times we went through I was doing so much work that I felt like I was micro-managing, but he quickly became more self-reliant, softer, and willing to be adjusted. For now TrainerM wants me to focus on keeping him off of that rein when we’re on the right lead and keeping his neck very straight when we’re on the left lead.

Our right lead walk to canter transitions suffer from the same problem. It doesn’t matter if I push his hip in towards the inside if I can’t get him off of my right rein so that his right shoulder has the space to take the lead. Being aware that this is a shoulder problem has made it easier for me to school these.

Raglan was spicy side during our lesson, though not to the point where his energy wasn’t constructive. We had a couple of small moments of snark when he knocked cavaletti over (boy howdy does he hate making mistakes), then one big moment of snark when he landed with his hind end missing on the right lead. I grounded myself in the saddle and REALLY felt my outside hip sink down into the right position, like I was connected straight through his body. It was electric! I slid my leg back, pushed my calf in, and

He turned into a snot and tried to buck me off! 😂

He’s so handsome, but also SUCH A BUTT. I love him.

Hoping that we’ll get to see some grid action in next week’s lesson!

Lesson Recap: More Cow

Lesson Recap: More Cow

Two days before my lesson with TrainerM, this is what I posted on Instagram:

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.

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