I saved my One Thing for the barn, because it was the day for my first ride on big bad Q mare. Long time readers will remember the days before Bridget when I had some serious anxiety about riding. Well, on certain horses, that anxiety still likes to creep back in my head. Like considering getting on a green 16.2hh tank of a mare, for example. So obviously I said yes I would ride her, and continue to do so every week...because anxiety can suck it :)
What you need to know about Q:
-She's super sweet and good for a baby
-She's 3/4 TB, 1/4 Percheron. She's got a TB work ethic and sensitivity, and is pretty brave and level headed. She looks more than 1/4 draft. She's big.
-She's 6, and been under saddle the better part of the year.
-Her owner is an amzing rider. I am not, so I'll likely take a lesson here and there on Q to stay up to speed on her training.
|Much prettier than my terrible pics would indicate|
Our first outing went well. The arena was super busy and she was quite fresh, so I took her out on all the neighbourhood trails to burn off some steam and do some team building. Given I am totally new to her and it was windy and rainy and dinnertime at home, she was super. Next week, a dressage lesson because I honestly can't keep her canter together for very long and need much help. She's quite heavy and uncoordinated, but I know it can be done because her owner makes her look good!
|Ears not super impressed by nasty weather and the stranger on her back|
I then quickly tacked Bridget up for a jumping lesson, which for whatever reason made me a little nervous. So, my One Thing became Two Things.
Bridget was exactly how I would love her to always be: light and forward and pulling ever so slightly to the jumps. Lucky, lucky me! Once my initial reluctance disappeared, I felt like I was riding as I would like to: soft and relaxed, and looking for the next jump. FINALLY felt what it will feel like if I can ever get my rogue body to behave consistently...I've been trying for how long? I am a slow learner :)
Of course, EC took that to mean I was ready for a big oxer I hadn't even seriously considered would be part of our course. I expressed my doubts, particularly as it led into the same 5 stride line we wiped out on 2 weeks ago, to which she responded "Trust me. It's going to ride really well." OK then, Three Things it is.
And, she was right, it rode really nicely. Its still an awkward distance at B's natural pace, more like 5 and a half strides, but shes getting adjustable so it doesn't matter like it used to. We used that line for the rest of the lesson and I asked for 5 forward strides, got it, and was super happy. Then EC asked for me to try for a really forward 4 if it felt right. Umm, Four Things? But we got that too, first try and it was fun.
The highlight for me was actually the part where I failed, jumping in on kind of an iffy pace, wanting 4, and changing my mind part way, so two biggish strides, followed by three small. In normal circumstances, a rider might be unhappy with that ride, but we were thrilled because it meant Bridget is finally becoming responsive and adjustable in the canter!
EC mentioned again how she'd like to see us at Novice next year, and I was like..."Maybe if I ever get brave...that oxer tonight scared the crap out of me the first time." At which she laughed "Don't worry, jumps like that will seem small to you in a few months...besides, Novice will be smaller than that anyway." Um, OK then, apparently my eyes were not deceiving me. I'm not even going to ask how big that thing really was. 2'6" is my happy place :)
So, maybe I'll forget the One Thing idea...apparently an average night in my barn life is enough to scare me far more than once a day. It also seems I must like to be scared, because it was the best day I've had in a while.