Last week was full of ups and downs…
Monday was my first time using Ezhno in one of my jumping lessons. We started out trotting over ground rails while I was in my two point, had a few discussions about the idea of going in a straight line, and then the Trainer set up a very tiny cross rail for us. Our goal was to trot in at an even pace, jump the rail, land at a canter, and continue on in a straight line. It went… okay. We only got one or two real jumps where we landed at the canter (Big Horse was not impressed by the tiny jump), but his straightness improved and we got some really nice, strong cantering.
I’ll admit I was a little disappointed, but in all honestly it probably went better than I should have expected, considering the video his original owners sent me when I was considering him for purchase:
The Trainer warmed him up for me on Tuesday. By the time I hopped on he was ridiculously soft, but also drenched in sweat (lol). We did a little bit of canter (practicing our leads and doing some circles), but I mostly stuck to walk/trot to cool him out. We also practiced our halts, especially since he was being over-reactive to the leg aid.
Wednesday‘s lesson was disappointing. The Trainer set up the Circle of Death exercise (with 8 ground rails). We started out walking/trotting the circle with the rails down and then progressed to raise ground rails. He was very uncoordinated, plus he kept trying to lean against my outside rein. We had problems keeping a consistent pace and he tried to pick a couple of fights with me, but the Trainer was there to coach me on how to de-escalate the situation instead of letting him goad me. About halfway through I was ready to be done, but the Trainer teased me a bit (“What, are you mad your green horse hasn’t made progress in the last twenty minutes?”) and then gave me a pep talk and I went back at it.
Things turned around on Thursday. My dad came out to meet Ezhno and then I had a much better ride. I was determined not to let him lean on my outside aids anymore, so we focused on trotting circles and yielding his shoulder. We did a lot of figure 8’s with turns on the haunches/forehand in motion. His shoulder ended up really lose (but his hindquarters could still use work). We did a little bit of canter work and then wrapped things up by working on his halts—he tends to stop really hard on the forehand and try to yank me off balance.
Trainer-A was throwing a series of mock equitation classes on Friday for all of her 4-H students that were showing that weekend. Ezhno got new shoes and then I rode during the classes so that I could watch the girls practice while we worked more on our turns on the haunches/forehand in motion and our cantering. It was a great way to work on space management (there were probably twelve riders in the arena all at once) and it was good for him to work while everything was so busy. Plus it was fun to be around so many enthusiastic riders!
The arenas were booked out all weekend (a clinic and a barrel racing competition), so I did something really crazy and gave us both Saturday and Sunday off—that’s right, the whole weekend. I spent the time playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends while Ezhno recuperated (both physically and mentally), so that we’d have a fresh start on Monday.