Monday, May 10, 2010

Long, but exciting! *

I am just unspeakably excited. :) Rev and I had two good lessons this weekend -- one good because we did well, one good because we learned something new and fun and did okay at it!

Saturday's flat lesson was really, really awesome. Finally, for once, we did as well in lessons with MT as we can do in practice! I was able to get her moving forward, and then push even a little more forward from there at MT's instruction. I was riding well, and my rein contact was good, and overall, it was an awesome ride. I was so pleased with her and myself. :) MT said it was the best he's seen me ride, which I could feel for myself too, so I couldn't do any of that self-deprecating stuff. If I can ride that well and if Rev can go that well in the Derby on Sunday, I can win the class. :) These things are won and lost in dressage, at low levels. Sometimes high levels, too.

After the lesson, I mentioned to MT that I'd signed up for the crossrails class in next weekend's Derby and asked if that was okay with him. He asked if I'd trotted Rev over any crossrails yet, and I said, "Well, no. The rule is 'no jumping outside of lessons,' so I followed the rule." I wondered if the rule had changed or if I was supposed to assume it didn't apply to me -- that sort of thing had been known to get me in trouble as a kid, so I don't do it any more. :) If there's a rule, I assume it means me. Anyway, MT said, "Oh. Right, you're right. Good answer -- I didn't realize that was a trick question! Well, let's pop her over a crossrail. What are you doing tomorrow?"

So it was set -- jumping lesson for Sunday morning, woot! I resolved to not be nervous, because, well, I wasn't. Somehow the prospect of jumping Rev didn't and doesn't scare me at all. It might oughta, but ... it doesn't.

On Saturday, though, we'd put another horse in Rev's pasture, another mare. I was not in any way expecting Rev to act the way she did on Sunday morning -- usually, when she's been in with other horses, she left them with no problem. In her TN home, she lived with a mare and filly, and it was never a problem to take her out of the pasture away from the others. But Saturday morning, you'd have thought I'd taken her away from her mother! She cried and hollered and danced around, all antsy because she'd left the other mare. 0.o I mean, I know this happens to other horses, but it's the first time it's ever happened with Rev. So after she squirreled around in the crossties, I ended up just throwing her on the longe line in her halter, just to get her attention. Run around for a few minutes, then start lots of quick transitions. Get a handle on her brain.

That worked, so I got her tacked up. Bridling her turned out to be a PITA, but I prevailed. And back on the longe line she went, all tacked up. I finally got most of her brain engaged, and got mounted up.

MT started us with some basic flatwork, which was nowhere near as good as it had been the day before. But I prevailed, mostly. Enough to move on to working the two-point.

Two things: One, if there were ever an argument for losing weight, two-point is it. I shouldn't have to support so much damn weight, and neither should Rev.

Two, MT teaches a very different style/approach than I learned as a kid and used as a teenager. He teaches eventing, and I learned hunt seat equitation. Apples and oranges. Not quite apples and moon rocks, but different nonetheless. In hunt seat equitation, my feet were much farther back than MT was having me put them. It's much more about angles, the way MT teaches it, than it ever was before. And every time we jumped, he'd talk about the foot/leg position and how much more secure it was on the back side of the jump.

One thing I did find a use for that I'd learned from Stormy, the sainted Hackney-Arab jumper I rode for several years, was the use of the three-point seat when approaching fences. I had to use it to slow Stormy down, but with Rev, I kind of instinctively used it on our last jump of the lesson, because I needed to ride her forward.

I don't think I consciously thought about three-point, just that she didn't have enough forward to be able to jump well, even over a small crossrail. So I rode her forward. And I'm damned if that wasn't our best effort of the day. MT said she gave me a good, cute jump, and it was the only one where I landed with her, and we cantered off calmly, rather than a step of canter and then trot. Every other time, I'd been a little rigid on the landing and not moving with her.

So overall, I learned a lot -- my takeaways from this are "practice two-point in the trot and canter" and "practice trot tempo and canter transitions in your jumping saddle." I can do that. :)

But most of all? I had a great time. :) I totally want to go do more! *dances happily* Honestly, I've been waiting for this since the day I bought Reveille. I had a strong hunch that she'd be a good jumper, and MT agrees with me that she will. She seemed to really enjoy it, too! She didn't quail, even a little bit. And neither did I. *beam* There was no hesitation (at least, none that wasn't caused by me not getting her forward enough on the approach to the jump). MT said that going in the crossrails class is definitely doable, and we'll have a clinic with him on Saturday, too.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful thing. *SQUEEEEEEEEE!*

* Obligatory: That's what SHE said!

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