Who thinks it’s a good idea to schedule a lesson full of coursework immediately after 4-day hiatus from riding? Apparently me, because that’s exactly what I did this week. After my vacation to New York, which included Miles getting four days off, I scheduled a lesson on Monday evening. I’m sure you’re all shocked to hear that it wasn’t perfectly perfect.
My justification for this hair-brained maneuver was that Miles typically enjoys some time off. So when my Trainer and the Barn Manager hatched a plan to set up a big course of jumps over the weekend, and decided to leave it up for Trainer’s Monday evening lessons, I was pumped! With show season fast approaching, I need all the coursework I can get. Format was just like a horse show: warm yourself up on the flat and then come into the indoor to jump. This format by itself poked holes in my training right from the get-go. On Monday, I learned I warm-up for shows differently than I do at home or even for lessons. It’s not a big difference, but my attitude is different enough to cause small changes.
We did two warm-up jumps, which I opted to trot… and I shouldn’t have. Trotting one is fine, but then I need to canter. Then we went on and strung three fences together, the single we warmed up over and a four-stride line. All of the jumps were fine — I wasn’t super confident in the line and didn’t have a great sense for my pace. Then we schooled the rolltop, because that was the 4th fence in our course and I’d never jumped one before. I was quite nervous, but surprisingly Miles was fine. I felt him back off just a touch at the base, but I kept my leg on well enough that he popped right over. It was the best fence of the night for us!
After successfully schooling the rolltop, we went back and started the course over, so that we could string all eight fences together. The first three went fine for us, then I found a long(er) distance to the 4th fence (a single white gate) and Miles pulled his duck and buck routine on the landing. I was literally one step from falling off — if he hadn’t stopped his shenanigans when he did, I would have hit the dirt. Trainer said it was because I didn’t ride across the fence, or ride the landing well… which is true. But part of me still feels like Miles shouldn’t react that way regardless. So, I have all the feels over this little incident, and I’m not quite sure how to sort them all out. I’m hoping the extra lesson I scheduled for later this week will help.
So, after our near disaster, we kept the fences low (2′) and worked through the course again, and proceeded to do a second course as well. Everything thereafter just felt… lackluster. I was a little nervous, but overall I just didn’t ride my best. I’m definitely disappointed in myself, and frustrated with my horse. But I’m trying really, really hard to let it go and not let the fact that I didn’t fall off ruin my confidence. Horses, man.