Both Jen and I had scheduling conflicts with our planned Thursday afternoon lesson, so we moved it to this morning. Since I haven't been jumping Buddy a lot, I was a little nervous about his lack of conditioning and energy level before the lesson. He was lazy in warm-up so Jen suggested putting a spur on. I haven't been using spurs on him for almost a year; I did use them at a show last summer since it's frowned upon to smack your horse with a crop in the show ring. Buddy tends to get sour with spurs, so I only use them when really needed. What a difference they made! He was much more inclined to move off my leg and go forward. I think I'll slowly start using them again during lessons or if he's really not listening to my leg.
We were schooling a right-to-left diagonal fence with a kind of tight turn to a short 4 stride outside line going up hill (for drainage reasons our outdoor arena is on a little bit of a slope). The footing at that end of the arena is a little deep, and Buddy takes great exception in having to work through it. Add in the fact that the left is his harder direction, and we were going up hill, and you get one hard exercise for us.
Jen had me angle the diagonal fence to get more room on the landing, and to help set us up for the lead change. It helped, but Buddy was trying to move around the deep spots and wasn't too inclined to give me the change. I really had to sit down and ride him forward up to the first fence in the line, then steady for the 4. It was tough, and Buddy showed his displeasure by flipping his head. He can be such a little drama king sometimes!
While that exercise was hard, other parts of the lesson were great. Jen said Bud's much straighter than he used to be, and we had a lot less falling in and over bending than we used to have. Once the spurs were on, our pace was nice and we had a decent flow. I'm glad our flat work over the past few months has paid off! I'm very happy with the lesson and can't wait to start doing them regularly.