When we left off last week, some particular noodle had been an absolute wretch for our jump lesson on Wednesday.
On Friday (aside from being a bit on his toes because it was BRISK out there for Florida) he brought his best kiddo behavior. Well I mean did he jig off the trailer and into the barn? Maybe. Was he a moving target while I tried to put his bridle on? Yes. Did we snort the whole way out to the ring? Indeed. Did a horse get loose and come galloping out towards the ring while I was walking and did I just choose to jump off and hold my spinning noodle until that horse was caught rather than potentially add another loose horse to the mix? Yes. But I mean once the lesson started, he was all business.
It’s been a hot minute since I had a dressage lesson (ok months, it’s been months… jumping took priority) so it was definitely needed. I feel like he’s made a lot of progress as far as getting more adjustable in his gaits (Steph agreed), more consistently into the outside rein (Steph agreed) and his canter has gotten stronger (Steph agreed). But ya know, good professional eyes on the ground with the flatwork are so important, because I can take the homework I’m given and plug away at it pretty well, but I’m not always the best at pushing on to the next step.
So what we did a lot in this lesson was push the boundaries and ask him for more. More trot, starting to play with the medium and get him lifting his front end up more/coming through his knee and shoulder. This is hard for him, he’s lazier in front than he is behind., but he did give us some solid efforts.
We also worked on being able to move his shoulders a bit more, which is kind of a constant with him since he loves to get stuck in the base of his neck/shoulders. And then when we moved to canter she was like ok this definitely looks way stronger/better but now he needs to do it more on his own with less help from you. Turns out I’m helping him every single step, which of course I know that but also at no point did my brain go “maybe it’s time you stop holding his hand and ask him to do more of this on his own”.
So that’s what we did. We’d get the canter forward, get his back swinging, and then I’d slowly stop helping him as much and ask him to do more on his own, letting my leg hang more passive. To the right it wasn’t too bad, he broke once or twice out of confusion (she stopped holding me up, that’s weird) but to the left, his weaker direction, he def wanted to fall apart more as soon as I wasn’t actively holding it together. There is some homework involving all of that, for sure. Which is good… that’s the whole point.
On Saturday I spent all day jump judging at the classic 3-Day here in town. It was such a cool event, with a whole week of various clinics/demos and lots of educational content from top pros. They did a great job with the course design too, everything looked fantastic, with good challenges but also some softer options for the people that needed them. For personal reasons I’d love it if they moved it to a different venue – then I’d 100% put it on my bucket list.
What did blow my mind, as someone from Texas where people do not drive vehicles onto courses and if you’re jump judging you basically just have to walk your happy ass and your lawn chair out to whatever far reaches of the earth you’ve been assigned to, was that we could just drive out to our jumps and stay in our vehicles. When everybody got in their cars and drove right out onto the course my brain exploded a little, I think I amused all the Florida people. Wait, you mean I don’t have to hike 3 miles and sit in a chair in the sun being miserable/cold/hot/wet/sunburned all day? Not that 8 hours in my car is comfortable but it beats the hell out of a lawn chair. That was like a VIP jump judging experience compared to every other I’ve ever had. It was fun watching everyone with the classic format though, I love that they offered Starter through Training.
Yesterday was disgusting by Florida standards: 48 and drizzly rain all day. Hard pass. Hard hard pass. Today it’s sunny and 70 so… I don’t have to suffer thanks. Our barn group went to brunch instead, and then Hillary and I recorded a podcast (the first of hopefully many) with Steph for our Patreon people. I’m pretty excited about this one, she’s so interesting with her teaching philosophy and how she approaches coaching different people/personalities.
I’m also now full throttle into Black Friday mode, getting the first version of the list ready to post (hopefully tomorrow, but if I can’t make that happen, Wednesday for sure). So many places have started their sales early, so it looks like my list will need to start earlier too. My mission this year is new blankets for Presto, since his lil butt is now hanging quite a ways out the back of his old clothes. Which makes me sad, because they’re great. If you see great deals on any fun prints in an 81/82 (I think, I need to measure him today) , send them my way!