A Sunday lesson and a different horse?? When I turned up to the stables yesterday I had Td and while I love riding him I have felt ready to be paired with other horses again so when a classmate turned up unexpectedly (she thought they had booked her in turned out they had booked her in for next week instead) there was a bit of horse swapping and I ended up with Tx. Yup my little super Highland. I was quietly chuffed, or not quietly with everyone remarking on how happy I must be – turns out the instructor had no idea how much I love Tx else I might have gotten to ride him sooner.
Anyway we didn’t do brilliantly, I didn’t manage to get him fired up enough and we plodded a fair amount. I was told in no uncertain terms that I am too polite and I need to chase the horse sooner in order to get a good level of activity. We did get one nice canter on the right rein but he simply did not respond on the left rein (his weaker rein and my strongest) to my canter aids and rushed in the trot. It frustrated me slightly as I felt my position move as well when he did that but it reminded me of what it is like riding a different horse. I think I grew so comfortable with Td, I knew when everything was going well and I could ask for canter and my position was okay most of the time with him as I had learnt his tricks. Now it is time to get tested again and remember how Tx and I used to work best.
We did a fun exercise to help with bend, our instructor placed two poles against a jump strat – almost like a tripod, so the poles were at an angle with the point next to the pole being highest and we were to keep the horses on a circle in walk and circle around the strat with our horses having to step over the pole. To begin with Tx struggled, he was bending okay but kept slowing to a near halt. It improved on the left rein and I even got some nice leg yielding out of him but on the right rein he was a dream, we curved beautifully around the poles and we got praise for it! Unfortunately we did the hokey cokey on the leg yielding (I told you the left rein is my strongest 🙂 ) but managed to straighten up and at least get towards the wall.
I found it a positive lesson yesterday, I still love Tx – I would be willing to jump him again – but I wish I had gotten more activity out of him. Sometimes I look back to a year ago and think of me and this little dude flying around the school and I get a little sad as I feel we should instantly work well together. But then I think to yesterday and remember the moment I realised his attention was on me, with his ears relaxed and flicking back to me every so often and realise I haven’t lost it entirely. Okay I didn’t have that all the time but he was listening, next up activity.
I have been trying to reflect more and more each week on how I am progressing and I think I am doing okay, each week my confidence grows and I feel like I am part of the class again not simply a spectator. I feel that each week I start to become happier to tackle each exercise and I think I am ready to consider a hack at that stables, preferably with Tx and a small group. Oh and I have realised that if the possibility of buying Tx arose, I think I would do it.