I’m betting the title of this week’s post pretty much gives away what I did during my ride, and how it went. And let me tell you, it went fabulously well. The temperature was a balmy minus 15 degrees Celsius, which felt practically tropical after the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing of late. That alone lifted my spirts and made me raring to get into the saddle. Coupled with the fact that Luc was actually relaxed in the arena, it was just the perfect combination to make for an awesome time.
I took my time warming up, focusing on bend, impulsion and some lateral work. Luc was supple and soft and oh so willing. Then Jen, my sister/makeshift trainer/Luc’s owner, asked if I wanted to jump. The correct answer when asked that question is always yes! She decided it would be good for both Luc and I to work on the same exercise she’d done with him earlier in the week – only in my case over a bitty x-rail that was really no higher than a cavaletti. The concept was simple. Ride a figure eight over the x-rail, jumping it straight on and not at an angle (which would have been MUCH easier), across the short end of the ring.
After trotting into the fence a few times as a warm up, I picked up the canter and headed down to the x-rail. I chose to head away from the scary end (which meant I was heading home), and off the right canter lead (which is my weaker side). I knew he’d have a little more forwardness this way, but I wasn’t too worried about it. This is Luc after all and his idea of forward is shuffling along only slightly faster than a snail.
That’s likely why I was completely caught off guard with the horse I had on my hands after landing the fence. Coming in we had a nice pace. Upon landing, not so much. He was all go, go, go and I was all like whoa, whoa, whoa! We completely blew past the tight turn I was supposed to have made! Attempt number two was a little better. We made the first turn, barely, went a little wide on the second turn, but at least we managed to finish the figure eight this time! I did it a few more times in this direction, getting better at keeping him at the correct pace and off the forehand while we turned, and then switched directions.
Let me tell you, it was sooooooo much easier to make the turns heading toward the scary end. Luc was not nearly as interested in racing down to that end, which meant I had a lot more control on landing. We completed the figure eight pattern twice in this direction and then moved on to tackling a single vertical. It was ever so slightly higher than the x-rail. It maybe topped out at two feet – and I was perfectly okay with that!
I jumped it twice headed toward home, mostly because the first time I completely botched the distance and crawled up Luc’s neck before he’d even taken off. He got lots of pats for bailing me out of that one and not dumping me in the dirt. What a good pony! Heading away from home we nailed it on the first try and called it a day.
It’s the most jumping I’ve done in a single session since I started back riding and my legs definitely noticed! I was a little sore the next day. Guess that means more jumping for me to get me back in shape. Yay! Wait, what? Not more jumping but more time trotting and cantering around in two point to strengthen my legs and core? Sigh, I guess riding can’t be all jumping all the time. Oh well, the torture, err, I mean conditioning, will be good for me.