Wednesday, August 24, 2016

spectacular fashion

So according to Aimee, I'm on a bit of a roll lately. And... well.. She means that quite literally. I'll explain.

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!
I was super excited to try my hand at him in a more normal outdoor lesson, esp since it was really just me and Brita riding (one typical lesson mate was doing an easy hack on her brand new mare - so exciting! - and another was putzing around bareback and bridleless with the pony she outgrew but still adores).

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!
He probably hadn't been ridden in the two weeks since I last sat on him... which undoubtedly contributed some stiffness. But he was also just kinda in a mood. I simply *could not* get him going. And finally had to pick up a stick and wake him up a bit.

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
But nope, that's not what I did. Bc we were there for a jumping lesson and I wanted to jump. Save the horse from the extra exertion of the flat work so that we could pop over some fences instead.

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
And that felt exactly as uncomfortable to ride as it sounds. Don't get me wrong - he was actually a very good boy. Rushed a little bit to one of our first warm up fences, but then started waiting like a gentleman and would let me work with his canter (to the degree that his stuck way of going would allow).

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?!?
What a stupid reason to fall too. Like the horse did nothing wrong, and was a very good and honest boy. But I had done what I often criticize others for doing: skipped over the basic foundation type stuff to rush ahead to more advanced things. Skipped loosening up his stiff stuck back and ended up with a stiff stuck back myself. Le sigh.

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.


46 comments:

  1. Ouch! I hope that you are okay. We all push it at one time or another. And then we learn. Until we do it again. ;)

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    1. Ha basically! And thanks - I was super sore for a couple days but nothing very serious thank goodness

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  2. I think we've all been there - we know we should do x, but really want to do y. And then we are reminded of why we should have gone with x :( I kind of feel like if I'm going to pay for a lesson, though, the farm should provide a horse ready and able to do the job. Not that all horses don't have off days (or months, ahem, as my not-so-beloved horse) but a horse sitting for weeks isn't coming out ready to jump courses.

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    1. Yup those reminders are important.... If unpleasant lol. And re: the choice of this horse for the lesson, he is actually not a school horse - he is privately owned. But given that he is not working much but is actually a very cool horse, we have been exploring options for letting me use him for lessons and such. So my trainer and I were on the same page about what I was getting for this lesson.

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  3. Ouch, hopefully you're not too sore/stuff after the tumble.
    Don't be hard on yourself, if we all learned and retained lessons first time trainers would be rapidly out of business & we'd be bored being perfect *ahem* ... or at least that's what I tell myself 😇

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    1. Ha I like that! Tho occasionally I honestly wouldn't mind the boredom of perfection. Maybe just once in a while ;)

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  4. Oh yes, you're definitely not alone in the "doing something you know you probably shouldn't" boat -- sucks that you came off though! Hopefully you're not too sore, falling sucks.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! And it probably wouldn't have felt like such a big deal if I hadn't fallen.... Funny how that works lol

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  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H5uWRjFsGc

    First lines are appropriate.

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  6. Replies
    1. I was a bit sore - Gogo is much farther from the ground than Krimpet! But am feeling less crippled already haha

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  7. Maybe time for body work? Feel bad for you, of course, but feel bad for him. Had to be uncomfy too on his end. Love your spirit. That'll teach you to not take your own advice ;)

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    1. Yea probably idk. He gets a pretty high degree of care but standing around in a field doing nothing will always be standing around in a field doing nothing. I kinda tend to think that a solid purposeful flat ride on suppling and stretching would have done the trick. But thanks tho - next time I'll try to listen to myself a bit better!!

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  8. So glad I'm not alone in the "Questionable Life Choices" club! ;) Hope you're feeling less sore today!

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    1. Thanks - I think we need t shirts. Or maybe band aids or something lol

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    2. In corporate America we love our acronyms so at my job we have coined PLC for Poor Life Choice. Time to get on that branding!

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    3. YAS haha. i need that in my life :D

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  9. omg i learned that lesson this week too!!! i didn't do enough flat warm up before jumping and it ended in angry i-dont-want-to-go-forward bucking.

    luckily i didnt fall off but ... i might not be so lucky next time. better to learn the lesson now.

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    1. Glad you didn't fall too! And it's crazy - who woulda thunk that a good solid warm up is actually appreciated by these creatures.... Unheard of!

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  10. Every time I've come off it was a stupid reason, totally my fault. Then again I guess I don't ride enough naughty horses because I'm gutless.

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    1. eh i mean things can happen with even the nicest horses (as i've happily demonstrated lol) but yea it basically never feels great...

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    1. hmm then i guess i'll have to come up with an alternate explanation for the weird bruises lol

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    2. :-p this. I have high expectations for you.

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    3. "i would tell you how i got these bruises but the first rule is not to talk about it"

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  12. Lol Love The $900 fb pony's comment. It sucks when it is our own mistake causing issues. Glad you don't seem injured though, the ground seems to get harder every year for some reason...

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    1. lol that's the truth. i was at least happy to fall in the arena this time instead of onto the actual hard ground like i did from krimpet last week.... it probably would have been way worse ugh

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  13. I fall prey to that trick all the time. Like, the canter is not just going to magically fix itself when I point my horse at a jump. In fact, it's probably going to go exactly the opposite way. Way to think that through, Self. Heck yes for continuing on anyway after your fall though!

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    1. but sometimes i reeeally REALLY just wish the canter would magically fix itself tho :( it would solve all my problems!!

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  14. Ah yeah the little inkling voice in your mind and the resulting lesson learned moments...Glad you were able to finish up the lesson regardless of the fall though and not feeling too worse for the wear!

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    1. thanks! it definitely didn't feel great and i wasn't really thrilled to keep jumping (bc yea i totally continued to get tossed around in the saddle even after...) but we made it i guess lol

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  15. Ouch! Hopefully you'll be on less of a roll soon... although rolling is a good way to take the impact.

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    1. lol oh i rolled alright! sand errywhere!

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  16. There is something weird going on in that picture of Brita though..

    Sorry you fell :( falling is no fun

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    1. definitely not fun at all. the weirdness is just the wind flipping her saddle's flap backwards i think

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  17. Ouch.
    Good for you for finishing the lesson after what sounds like a hard fall. I wish jumping fixed flatwork problems, but sadly, it's the other way around. Boo.

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    1. i wish too.... le sigh. but yup, definitely the other way around. hopefully i'll remember that next time!

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  18. Definitely scrolled down and was like "what's with the tiny corner in the barn aisle?" lol Even going nicely, Midge pretty much jumps me out of the tack at least once per lesson....yet the friendly giant horse I ride is super easy for me to stay with. Must be something to do with inherent horse/rider conformation and movement (in addition to how they feel on the day!) Hope you're recovered soon!

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    1. ha yup - that's just a table. and i agree 100% about the horse/rider confo and movement bit too. i've jumped something like 6 horses in recent weeks and while they have all been different, i've more or less been pretty solid on all of them. except gogo. at least on this particular day.

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  19. Yikes, glad that you're okay! I'm pretty sure we've all rushed the flat to get to the 'fun' stuff at least once or twice.

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    1. yep... it's a natural feeling. jumping is so fun! and flat work can be so boring and monotonous! but... turns out... well. you know.

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  20. Ack, so sorry the lesson didn't go as you'd hoped, and hopefully you're not too sore today :-(

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    1. i was basically crippled the day or two after but am only mildly hitchy by now. progress lol

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  21. Oh man, that fall sucks. Sorry about that. As for that metro thing, I not only see the corner jump, but feel like I want to re-create this in my arena.

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  22. Oh man those falls are the worst :( I have a feeling your next horse will be chestnut!

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