Those are all the words I would use to describe this week’s ride. Luc was absolutely amazing! There was a lot going on – new dogs (a lot of barking ensued), school horses coming in and out (the lesson program just started at the farm), and just a ton of commotion overall. He was a bit bug-eyed when we first brought him into the tack up area, but after a minute or two he settled right down. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the dogs barking in the lounge right next door that he had been fixated on, it was the two horses working in the arena he could see through the small window in the door.
I, or rather my sister Jen, timed the grooming and tacking up perfectly. We headed into the ring just as the other two horses were coming out. While I love riding with other people, it can sometimes be hard to start warming up when they’re already working over fences. Luc was completely fine with being in the arena alone. I think warmer weather must be on its way soon because he could have cared less about the scary end of the ring. No silliness, no spooking, just a calm, relaxed horse.
We warmed up a little faster than usual because I wanted to be finished before the first lessons of the day started. I thought I’d have plenty of time, but the students arrived two hours early! Oh well, you can’t expect everything to always go as planned. Despite the quicker warm up (a few times around the ring in walk and trot), Luc was supple and easy to work with. We did a few trot poles, some lateral work and circles before moving on to the canter. I got some of the nicest canter I’ve ever had from Luc in the arena. It was fantastic! He just felt so incredibly relaxed – it was such a nice change from the giraffe-channelling horse I’ve had the past little while!
After we cantered over a few poles, I decided to do a little jumping. After all, I’d been so good last week focusing on dressage! We trotted into a small x-rail a few times in each direction, then did the same from the canter. My sister/Luc’s owner will now also forever be known as an enabler. While she usually encourages me to do things like jump, or ride bareback, or ride without stirrups, this time she decided it was time for me to jump something a little bigger.
She converted the x-rail into a vertical, and Luc and I cantered on down. It was so much fun! Sure it wasn’t really that big a fence, I’d guess it was maybe a little over 2’6”, but Luc’s bascule is completely different when you know, he actually jumps instead of plods over the fence. I definitely need to work on some slightly bigger fences so I can get used to that feeling again and keep my position a little better in check. I did avoid chicken arms, mostly because I had been focused on keeping my elbows to my sides when releasing.
It might also be a good idea to point out that while last week I did dressage in jumping-length stirrups, this week I jumped in dressage-length stirrups! I really need to take the time to adjust my stirrups accordingly. I’m sure it will do wonders for my leg position.
I am so looking forward to spring arriving and can already feel it in the air and see it in the mass amounts of Luc’s hair absolutely everywhere (how does it always seem to find its way even to my workplace?)! Here’s to a fantastic next few months enjoying green grass, great riding and making even more progress!