We are just passed the one month mark into the new employment situation. It's been busy. And my riding routine has suffered. Not actually as badly as I might have anticipated tho - and the more I settle in, the more empowered I feel about my calendar (even as it fills up before my very eyes).
|feral pony is focused on anything but the task at hand|
Plus a couple unfortunate occurrences that maybe could have been foreseen... but were mostly just random. Like trainer P canceling two weekends in a row. Or going to Rolex (tickets booked months before I accepted the new position) the day after returning from a multi-day work trip.
It's all culminated in me feeling massively unprepared for this weekend's show. The horse is unfit. I am unfit. And we are basically not very freshly schooled either.
|omg the itch is so real|
And we managed to sneak in a lesson with Dan during the brief <24hr period I was in town between work trips and Rolex. Not a ton to write home about there - it was another glorified flat lesson with jumps tossed in.
|bc it's been too long since gifs!|
Biggest takeaway is to wait it out when she fusses. Remember that half halts have beginnings and ends, and that timing matters.
Tho he also pointed out that Isabel is suddenly gigantic ("What are you feeding that horse?!?" were his exact words), that I'm an imbecile for not getting the horse ridden while I'm away (dude I promise I tried), and that our footing in the arena is essentially bottomless and any reasonable horse would take issue with it (.....womp womp, not a whole lot I can do there).
|crazy how much greener it got in a week!|
Know what that meant? Isabel got ridden TWICE. Boom. Haha, poor thing. She got an honest flat school in the morning. Nothing ground breaking, and never quite got the feel I wanted. But was very pleased with her efforts all the same. She tried. I will take it.
Then back again that evening for a fun and forward and purposeful hack through the woods. With specific attention paid to hills and wide open spaces. Mare ate it up like candy (literally - she will undoubtedly throw me one of these days when we finish a gallop and she suddenly plants to snatch some particularly salient grass...).
|big as a house, that one|
Somewhat reminiscent of a similar night March a year ago when I forced myself out to the barn after a long day, only to discover that Kaitlyn had coordinated Dan's first lesson back at the farm since Aiken. So super convenient - who doesn't love unexpected lessons and barn mates motivated to set them up?
|panorama of jump exercise failed when the unattended Isabel decided to exit stage right...|
He discussed flat work at length tho - the importance of an adjustable canter, the importance of being able to land your leads, and the importance of using bend to find a distance - essentially his holy trinity. And our exercises through the ride reflected those objectives.
|a better pano, horse safely tethered haha|
And we kinda felt like a hot mess going through those 90* bending lines in particular. Isabel was maybe a titch behind my leg but jumping hard. And idk if it's the new saddle or my serious weakness, but I had a really hard time staying down in my legs over the fences, making for rough landings. We got it done tho, so there's that at least haha.
Definitely fun exercises, and I liked how he wanted them ridden. Wasn't sure it all meshed completely with how Dan would like to see things done (my criteria for trainers is that the philosophies mesh well enough that I'm not doing and undoing all of their work in my various lessons) - but I suspect that had more to do with this being Dom's first time seeing us.
|don't believe her sad face - she's a very happy mare|
So a good lesson, and I was very happy to have a supervised jump school given the proximity of our next show and my knack for making terrible decisions when left to my own devices haha.
We will have another lesson with Dan on Friday morning, and will very hopefully find time to ride a couple other times between now and Sunday.