After over a week out of the saddle, it sure felt nice to hop on Checkers for a lesson last night. I’m riding with a fun group of middle aged ladies right now, which is a nice change up from riding with kids for the first few months here. The kids are fun and inspiring in their own way, but it’s sure nice to ride with like minded adults!
I’m probably the weakest link in the current lesson, which is exactly what I need. While I’m not a competitive type, I’m also not the type who’s comfortable having others make compromises for me. As a result, I’m forced a little outside my comfort zone. Checkers and I had one slightly hairy moment where I just read things wrong and got the wrong angle on a bending line mid course and messed up the pace. Checkers ended up taking a super long one over the middle jump and where we should have had a two stride we had me flailing and a one stride creating another long one followed by a runout at the next. In the end, we had to try it another two times to really get a feel for it, but I left feeling confident and comfortable with it and excited to do it again! I love that our coach puts a lot of difficult questions in our courses to make you plan ahead and ride super accurately – her method isn’t at all about raising the jumps as you progress, it’s more about creating more complicated questions. The intermediate lesson I ride in still keeps things around the 2’-2’3” mark for the most part, with the odd 2’6”. The next lesson group up is a big move up height wise to 2’6” to 3’ but they share the same courses so there won’t be many surprises there if and when the time comes.
|I suck at picture taking, so here's a Throwback Thurday shot - a lesson with Lainey in 2012|
Flatwork was fun. We worked a lot on accurate transitions, doing an exercise of 15 sitting/collected trot strides alternating with 10 canter strides. Checkers loves to get fast and heavy, so getting her back somewhat smoothly to a collected trot takes a lot of planning!
|Also nothing to do with this post. Pretty pic of Ginger, 2012.|
-Still with the heels DOWN. Instructor was laughing at me – she’s like “every time you don’t like the distance you’re getting, you just bury your hands in her neck and your heels creep up – try to sit back and do something about it instead!”
-Checkers will look after me not matter what dumb decisions I make.
-I love my new fellow riders – they’re great at encouraging and cheering each other on.
-I don’t need to worry about Checkers’ jumping me out of the tack any more – I feel way more secure these days on her giant self and sat everything just fine when I remembered to wait and keep those pesky heels down.
-Checkers’ saddle – I love it! Its an old beat up Pessoa and it’s like it was made for me. Too bad the ones I’ve tried previously don’t fit Ginger, but something to keep in mind. I love my current saddle (Stubben), but after riding in so many different ones over the last few months, I’m starting to feel like it’s not as great a fit as it could be for me. I got it new on super clearance, so financially it wouldn’t hurt to sell it on….but do I really want to go back down the saddle fitting path when what I have is do-able?