Well, this past week was a looooong one. It has been hot with a few early days and long afternoons thrown in, so it’s seemed longer than average… today was an excellent day, however.
I had a really great lesson on Herodes to start the day off. He’s one of my favorite horses by far. Today, the focus was on letting the fence come to me with a soft hand instead of rushing to change the pace in front of the fence. The end result was me cantering to a vertical a little over a meter in height with one hand out in front of me! I definitely didn’t feel too secure at first, but it was amazing how much it illustrated that I rely too much on my hand. Herodes was great.
After Herodes, I got to hack Justinian, who I have waxed poetic about as being one of my favorite horses here. He’s not very big and reminds me a little of a polo horse, compact and powerful. He’s really fun to hack because doing things right gets you the right reaction, and yet he’s patient when you do things wrong.
I had a second jump lesson on Mauro; this one ended up being trotting down to a tight bounce of verticals set at about a meter by the end; shoulders back! When I managed to keep myself light and back and waiting, the feeling of Mauro rocking back on his haunches and clearing the second fence was amazing. Getting myself into that back, patient position also made transitions after the bounce extremely easy; I could have him walking within a couple of strides, whereas before I always struggled to get transitions done before the end of the ring came up.
After hacking Nixon, I had another jump lesson on Pastrocito. This time we did a little course; a six stride diagonal line with a reverse roll back to a seven stride outside line, another reverse roll back to a five stride diagonal line and another reverse roll back to a vertical. It was definitely a case of turning a hunter course into quite the jumper question! Initially my roll backs were dreadful, but once I tried employing a bit more foresight and balance into the equation it got quite nice. It was fun to see Katie on Nacar, the little three year old stallion, galloping around the course in stride, as it was one of the longest courses he has done yet. He was excellent.
In the afternoon, some clients from the States came, which is something I’ve been looking forward to since I got here. Martin got a lesson on Luli from an American Grand Prix rider, and then they watched as Martin some of his horses as hunters. It was pretty rad to meet some more English speakers!