The riding gods were smiling down on me this week. Luc’s abscess, and it was definitely an abscess, blew earlier in the week. It came out his heel and left a big ugly hole, but he was much happier and completely sound. His owner, my sister Jen, rode him a few times before my day came around and he was peppy and forward and excited to be back to work.
While I was lucky he was sound, I wasn’t so lucky that he was still feeling like going forward without a ton of leg. Granted, it was hot. Really hot. Even at 8 a.m. when I was riding. Apart from not getting to enjoy a little peppiness, my ride was excellent. It’s amazing how quickly you miss it. After missing just one ride I was desperate to get back in the saddle.
The ride started off well enough. We were out in the grass field and while Luc was a little distracted by the mares and foals in the pasture across the driveway, I assumed he would work through it. That didn’t really happen. But I continued to try anyways.
After a quick flat warmup it was time for Luc and I’s favourite thing – jumping! The barn owner had moved a few more jumps out into the ring, so there was more than just the handful of cross country fences for me to try my hand at. I started out over the tiny log, and I didn’t even bat an eye. Then we moved on to the green coup, the larger log and even the wooden, natural a-frame. No fear. No hesitation. Go me!
Then it was time to move on to the one stride that was setup. It was plain poles with a little filler, so nothing Luc would be concerned about. We came down with a nice forward pace, as Jen had ridden it earlier in the week and told me it was set a little long. A little was a lot of an understatement. I had to push for the one stride, and it was looooong. We came around a second time with even more impulsion and it was still really long. The third time resulted in a very ugly two strides where I threw my body ahead. Good thing I have such a forgiving horse! We tried one more time and managed to put in the long one and called it a day for that obstacle. As it turns out, the line was no longer set correctly and when my sister walked it (after I was done of course, because that’s the smart thing to do) it was one and a half strides. No wonder we had issues!
In addition to the one stride line I also had trouble with the largest jump out in the ring. It was a vertical with green poles and was probably only 2’9” on the generous side. It wasn’t the height that gave me the issue. It was the approach. The first time I came down to it I failed to take into account that there was a dip in the ground right in front of it. I confidently rode down, saw my distance and then that dip – my distance disappeared, and it was too late to correct. Luc and I literally crashed through it. Did I mention what a great horse I have for not dumping me in the dirt on that one?
I approached again and this time nailed it! I approached from the opposite direction and nailed it a second time. I finished off by jumping a vertical with a fake stone wall painted on a banner hanging over it. Luc didn’t even bat an eye. So proud of me and my boy!
Despite a few misses, and a lot of successes, there was one constant with my jumping today. Luc and I had a bad case of the squiggly, wigglys. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep him straight on our approach. We would drift left, then right – it was a hot mess. I tried cutting our approaches short. I tried making them really long. I tried more leg, less leg and everything in between. The wiggles continued. I can’t quite figure out if it was me, him or a combination of the both of us. All I know for sure is it’s something I am going to have to put some serious work into in the very near future.