I’m trying to get in as many lessons as possible before my next show. Even though I still have to get through my three nervous experiences before getting a good experience, I’d like to make the next one as not nervous as possible.
Tuesday, was the first of my two lessons this week. But, instead of working on courses, my trainer built a grid. It was horrifying. I’ve never done a grid before.
It started with just a crossrail. That was simple. Then she added a ground pole. Still easy. Then she made that into a vertical. The first time I did it, Berry didn’t mind, but the second time, it was like she suddenly realized it was there. “Egads! Who put this here?!” and slammed on the breaks.
Then she added a third pole, which started as a little vertical. At first, I was having issues with straightness. Zig-zagging is not appropriate for this exercise, so she dropped the pole on the ground between jump 1 and 2 to keep me straight. Then she dropped a flower box between 2 and 3 on the opposite side. Not wanting to land on those was pretty big motivation for getting it straight.
Then jump 3 got raised. And then it was made into an oxer. The first time, she decided to lengthen her stride and go from 2 to 3 in one stride. It took me a while to get it smoothly, but I had to shorten her step, and get her to do it in 2. I’m kind of questioning if it was me doing anything at all, or her just deciding it made sense to do it in 2, and making the executive decision.
At one point, I got left behind on the first jump, my foot jammed too far into my stirrup, and was overall frazzled. Usually when such a thing happens, I will pull out, stop, and restart the exercise. In the grid though, that did not seem to be an option. Once started in motion over the grid, the grid must be finished. So I didn’t even think of stopping, I just powered right through in my weird feeling position. But this earned praise!! And since I could sustain myself entirely off of praise, I was quite pleased.
Then the jump went up more, until it was a 2’6″ oxer. And we did it smoothly!! (although probably thanks to Berry being smarter than me). I am very excited that I did a 2’6″ oxer with my horse. Yay!!!
Berry got lots of pats and praise, and then zoned out while I helped my trainer dismantle everything. She was tuckered out, and I am so proud of her for giving such a great effort.
My trainer told me to look forward to lots of grid work over the winter. It will be good for my position, will strengthen Berry, and work on adjusting her for the strides. Right now, I would estimate this exercise being about 10% fun, and 90% terrifying, but I’m sure those numbers will change when I do it more. At least I’m hoping!
In non-horse news, when I got home, I gave scratch to the chickens and accidentally dumped a bunch on Fluffers. But she’s not a chicken that will let things like that keep her down!
She’s such a classy chicken.