First impressions were that a) he's forward, b) he's a bit spooky, and c) he's very narrow. Like all good lesson horses, he's also quite opinionated.
I really stuggled tonight with keeping my leg from sliding back, and my upper body falling too far forward. Even at a walk, I felt like I couldn't find a good spot in the saddle for myself, and with Skipper being so narrow I felt like I didn't really have anything to wrap my leg around either. I could blame the saddle/the horse/my body type, but lets be honest, the number one thing I hear no matter what discipline or horse I ride is that I need to keep my shoulders back. I am a slow learner :)
Flatwork went alright, again I just felt 'off' position wise. Two point was killing my ankles, which is weird. No stirrups actually made life easier for me in every way, so that was nice.
Jumping was set up bigger than what I've been used to, which made me slightly nervous on a new horse. Luckily, the course was pretty straightforward and consisted only 6 jumps in a figure eight pattern. I struggled a bit through the first round - Skipper is not as confident as the other horses I'm riding and we had a refusal at the second to last as I just couldn't keep him forward enough to it. We did ok on a re-try, but he's so sticky in front of the jumps that I have a hard time figuring out where I should be - I'm either jumping ahead because he hesitates and I don't, or getting left behind because I think he's going to refuse but then takes a big jump at the last minute. I don't think it looked as bad as it felt...but still, not as nice of a feeling as with the other horses where the timing is much easier to get.
Second round was an improvement, but still not great. Then, through the last combination he hesitated and I got sucked into jumping ahead of him again. Pony decided he'd had enough of my crappy riding/heels up his sides, so planted himself and stopped in his tracks with a little buck the stride AFTER the jump and I popped off over his shoulder and tested the footing (rubber crumb - very soft and nice ;) Call me crazy, but I suspect this is a move he's done before - it seemed quite well rehearsed. Take home lesson - shoulders BACK and WAIT for him! (Also, don't trust him not to take advantage of my alter ego Tippy and play dirty after the jump) The only thing hurt was my pride, so off we went for a third trip through, which went better. I'd like to say it's because I stepped up my riding, but really I think Skipper was bored of the whole game by that point and just cantered on through with no funny business. Lets hope things smooth out once we get used to each other - if nothing else this might be the horse that finally teaches me to keep those shoulders above those hips!
|Not me, but it felt a little something like this. Photo from "Fit to Ride: Yoga for Lawn Darts" on Horse Nation|
I'm going home to BC for visit on Friday, so no more lessons for a couple of weeks. I will, however, have lots of horse time with the always fabulous Ginger! I can't even tell you how much I've been missing her. After this little interlude in a lesson barn, I'm also excited to have a break and do my own thing with my own horse for a bit :)
|Looking forward to kissing this nose!|