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