After the lesson at Dan's farm in PA, I drove right on down to our farm to pick up Brita and Wick to head over for our regularly scheduled weekly lesson at OF with trainer P. Two lessons in one day is apparently one of the ways I roll right now. And it was another (even bigger) chestnut - this time the gelding Gogo from a couple weeks ago.
|more chestnut ears!|
But.... kinda right off the bat things weren't going well. Gogo was VERY against my hand, very fussy with the bit, and very very stuck.
|just needed a navy bonnet and we would have matched wick!|
Eventually we started to get a couple moments here and there where I could feel his back free up, and feel him come through. But it was tough to maintain. And he'd quickly revert right back to stiff, hollow, shuffling, stuck and very against my hand. Canter was not as bad as I expected actually, but the horse still basically felt like two different creatures from front to back.
And here's where I made my mistake. Made a poor life choice, and I really should know better. What I *should* have done was continued on with the flat work, spending another ~20 minutes at the trot really pushing him over his back and getting that loose softness that we had the first time I rode him.
I could feel it in there - it would have happened. He would have kept getting better. But probably by the time we would have gotten there, he would have been good and tired (remember, he's not been in regular work for probably three months) and especially with the heat, it would have been time to call it a day. Ah hindsight.
|still fussy with the bit|
Which you might notice is the *exact opposite* of good sense when the flat work is that bad... That horse that felt like two different creatures front to back at canter felt even more like two different creatures front to back over fences. Seriously. His front half and back half basically jumped completely separately.
|no pics of me riding (thank god) so instead here's Brita and Wick demonstrating how to not utterly fail over fences lol|
He found the jumps nicely, was only a little sticky with the steering (it's hard to sit on your butt around a turn when your butt isn't connected to the rest of your body), and never got bolt-y on landing.
There was a very real problem tho: his awkward stuck way of going meant that I kept getting jumped way out of the tack. Even when we found the fences nicely. And the 4 stride line was basically my undoing. The first time we kinda got a little crooked so trainer P had me go fix it. But the second time we nailed it and.... man I just got jumped right out of the tack over the oxer. Literally. And fell HARD (but in spectacular fashion, according to onlookers). Ughhhh.
|no riding pics, but riding is never far from my mind - even when walking to work from the metro. who sees a corner jump?!?|
And I gotta admit - it was really hard for me to keep jumping him after that. Given that it was honestly just his way of going that unseated me in the first place - not some mistake or error or whatever - it felt like another fall would be a real possibility. Luckily tho I managed to keep my goddamn legs down, my butt in the back seat, and my fist tightly clenched onto that neck strap.
So we got through a couple more courses, including the lines that proved trickiest - since it was recovering my position after the fence that seemed hardest. And all was well. He really was a good boy - I actually really liked him and his good honest no-fucks-given nature.
But damn. Hopefully that's a lesson that will stay learned this time. If the horse feels like shit on the flat, it's probably gonna feel like shit over fences too.