Cinder has been feeling really, really good lately. Between the bit change, body work, and injections, she almost feels like a brand new horse. And she's growing up mentally as well.
|She also looks very cute in her breastplate|
Last Friday it was super windy, and one of the metal sheets on the side of the arena came loose. It would periodically bang against the wood beams pretty loudly. There was also a pipe at the far end of the arena that had broken, so a couple of the handymen at the barn were working on it. For the most part they were out of sight, but would occasionally drill/saw things making loud noises, and would pop around the corner of the arena and up from the ground at weird intervals. To say it was a Very Spooky Day™ was an understatement.
I legitatmently thought about pulling the ammy card and cancelling my lesson, but I was already on and figured we could have a walk/trot lesson, at the close end of the arena away from the noises and people. Cinder started out pretty tense, and spun once at the metal sheet banging, but once the lesson started she settled. We worked on shoulder in and haunches in on a circle, going back and forth between the two before incorporating a set of raised trot poles into the circle. Cinder wanted to rush the poles, so I was instructed to bring her down to a walk three to four strides out and walk over them. We did this a few times each way before she got the idea and then were able to trot them without rushing.
|She got a massage on Saturday and was so relaxed the body worker was afraid she was going to fall down in the crossties.|
From there we moved on to trotting two diagonal piles of poles, figure eighting them. Trainer A then set them up to cross rails. My instructions were to treat them exactly like the pile of poles, and to not change anything. Cinder was great over them, and landed in a nice quiet canter each time. As I was coming around the corner to one of the x's (on the diagonal from the far end of the arena heading straight at the gate) one of the handymen drove up on the four wheeler, spraying gravel as he came into the storage space at the end of the indoor, right behind us. Cinder very slowly stopped, spun, and snorted at him. It was a very controlled spook, like she knew she needed to keep it together but was terrified at the same time. We walked, then trotted a circle, jumped the cross rail and called it a day. Both A and I were very impressed with how well Cin handled the four wheeler coming up behind her, and that she was able to go right back to work. No need to pusher her anymore that day.
|Getting me more comfortable with the long spots|
I had another lesson Monday night (we're switching from two trainer rides/one lesson per week to one trainer ride/two lessons per week this month) and it was the best lesson I've had in months. Cinder and I both felt on it from the get go. We worked over the raised trot poles from the previous lesson, and then started jumping a single cross rail on a circle, first at the trot then canter. I'm trying to work on letting go at the canter, and being more comfortable with a longer take off spot. We then went back to the two diagonal fences, which were now verticals with boxes under them. We did each a couple of times then moved onto a line of poles. I realized later A was trying to keep me on my toes, and not let me get too focused on one exercise or stress about doing something perfectly. It's a good strategy for me.
The line of poles was set as a five stride and A wanted me to get five, then six. Cinder isn't convinced that shortening her stride is a thing she needs to do, and it took me a few tries to get the six. It took a much more physical ride than I was expecting, but we got it done. To finish off the lesson, we did the line of poles in five, then did the other outside line which was a cross rail to some boxes. My directions were to let her flow, get the five and then don't change anything to get seven in the other line. I think I was so tired by this point, I couldn't do anything but let her flow. We go to the first pole long, but I just sat up and kept leg on her and the five worked out. We got a little short to the cross rail, but I let that go and focused on riding the rhythm to get the seven and it worked out great. Considering I haven't been jumping regularly since like October, I was really happy with how we did.