I’ve been keeping quiet lately, but Miles has been a little bit footsore ever since last Thursday. It’s nothing major, but he’s been in enough discomfort to keep us on the sidelines this week. I’ve been packing his front feet with Magic Cushion and wrapping him overnight, which seems to be helping. He’s been steadily getting better and I have high hopes that everything will be back to normal by this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve been reunited with my favorite pony Vinnie! Trainer graciously allowed me to ride him in my lesson on Thursday and we played dress up. Because there’s nothing like fancy boots, a figure eight bridle and fancy Eskadron boots to turn your frown upside.
So poor Vinnie got dressed as his alter ego, Vincenzo the Germany Riding Jumper Pony. He was a good sport and took to the figure eight really well. He was a bit iffy about the ankle boots at first [I don’t think he’d ever worn any before!] but he figured it out after about 30 seconds. Warming up Vinnie felt pretty good, if a bit out of tune. Lately he’s not been ridden much outside of his IEA lesson once a week, so his left bend was sticky. His lack of respect for my left leg was a common theme in our lesson, so I worked hard to get to him to give to the left and really bend around my leg.
His lack of strength and respect for my left leg showed up over fences at first, as did the fact that I haven’t ridden Vinnie in quite a while. I really, really suck at riding different horses — it’s not a talent that comes easily or naturally to me and it typically takes me quite a while to adjust [or readjust in this case] to a new horse. And Miles and Vinnie are pretty dang different rides, so things were a bit tough at first. We chipped in to our warm-up vertical and then I got way ahead on the second fence. Being the amazing saint that he is, Vinnie still jumped everything, even though I rode like a sack of potatoes.
But by the fifth or so fence we jumped, I finally found a good rhythm and we started to sync up again. I remembered to take more of a feel of Vinnie’s mouth and ride very deliberately, showing him exactly where I wanted him to go with confidence. I sunk down in my heels and wrapped my legs around his [quite large] barrel and remembered to release over the fence like it was a Grand Prix jump. Literally, my hands ended up practically tickling his ears because he just jumps… big? hard? I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but he really cracks his back over every jump, even if it’s just 2′ or 2’3″. Baby Jumper Pony has hops for days!
Overall, it was fun lesson and I really enjoyed dressing Vinnie up as a little jumper — he looked so cute! I’ve gotta work on convincing Trainer to find someone to show him in the 2’3″ Debut Jumpers next year — it would be so precious!