The theme of the weekend was MORE MORE MORE! I have to admit, Rebel Yell was in my head in both lessons the whole darn time. (Hey we all need more music in our lives!)
We had two lessons this weekend. One jump lesson (this blog post) with Sally Cousins and one dressage lesson in my next blog post with Emily Donaldson at Fox Mill. In case you are wondering, I did not get MORE MORE MORE media (as in zilch) due to us sweating balls in the jump lesson on Saturday and me freezing trying to dressage (and failing a bit) on Sunday. Two more disproportionate temperatures in two days could not be had. It was almost 80 on Saturday (jumping) and Sunday was in the 40s (if that with the wind chill, brghh, even in an indoor, dressage).
But first. My horse is finally shedding (So pardon the gross moth-eaten look of my buckskin right now!). YAY. Even with his slightly patchy coat, is he not cute as the dickens?
JUMPING SATURDAY WITH SALLY COUSINS AT STRAIGHT UP STABLES
First, I want to give a shout out to Straight Up for sharing their facilities with Sally for lessons. The place is lovely, the footing is perfect, the jumps are gorgeous and everyone there is so nice! It is always a pleasure hauling in to that facility. (They have a fun combined training series scheduled for this year, if you are local take a look!)
My friend Tanya has an adorable Appaloosa named Moo and we try to ride together when we can when Sally teaches at SA, since A) we get more breaks (Both the Appy and the QH need breaks as well as their riders!) and B) we get to watch each other go so we learn from watching the other. So worth the money!
Most important bit of newsreel from our lesson with Sally?
We started our lesson at 10:45. I got there in plenty of time as I knew I would have to run down the hill to the barn to use the facilities before riding (never know if it is from the big ass drink I sip on or if it is nerves but I always have to pee before a lesson) TMI? Oh well. The only note I can say is thank goodness I left EARLY since it took me longer to get there due to it being a gorgeous day (it hit 70’s or higher that day and the sun did come out finally) and every bicyclist in the Mid-Atlantic states seemed to be out on the PA and MD country roads that day). Between that and the Amish, well, it might have been faster to ride there (even on Remus)!
Anyway we got started and warmed up real quick. It is about a 45 minute lesson with Sally when there are two of us and you don’t want to waste a single minute not being warmed up! Cause once Sally started messing with the jumps (and I kept telling her to lower them LOL), you know it is time to jump! And jump we did! Wheee…..
Both Moo and Remus did very well. Moo and Tanya have come so far (I should have gotten media of him he is this cute round leopard gray/white App and he is coming along in both jumping and dressage so well!) I love to watch him and Tanya improve. Moo still can slide to a halt at some jumps but he has come along nicely and Tanya rides the crap out of him, and I have no doubt their season this year will be successful.
Remus had the slightly off-putting issue of being sluggish (lots of hair left, he just started shedding this week , he has lost some weight this winter, and as I said above it was very HOT out). Getting him moving (and I left the spurs behind at home, big mistake, HUGE) is always an effort UNLESS we are on the Cross Country field but we managed to get him moving some. Sally has been working on me keeping my hands up and sitting up to the jumps and getting MORE canter out of him up to the jumps. He has a tendency to be heavy on the forehand (foundation quarter horse) especially if he is having a lazy day so we are trying to lighten the load so to speak to get his front end up over the jump. He is actually better at take off than landing as he lands like a sack of potatoes at times. But baby steps, we are moving forward and trying to get a decent canter out of him.
So we did several lines of jumps together and Remus sailed over them all. I mean at least he didn’t refuse (He has gotten so honest and steady in stadium he still gets a bit looky on CC but I will take what I can get) and he tried his heart out. The last course though Sally set it up and besides me not comprehending which direction I needed to go (A 50 year old brain does have comprehension skills at times lacking), I realized at the first jump my guy was out of gas.
He made it over but there was not a whole lot left so I pulled him up and told Sally I think he was done. She got me to do another two jumps in a line we had had trouble with and he went over it great (albeit not totally enthusiastically) so we called it a day.
Take Home Message
Remus and his weight loss over the winter along with his delay in shedding have me a tad worried. He is never exuberant at the best of times (unless there is a track team running by, a hot air balloon in the sky, or an Amish cart driving by) and it was hot that day but he should have had more spunk (hauling in, hadn’t been there in awhile, you name it) so I talked to Sally about him and I told her we have already done a fecal on him (waiting on results) at his barn. I may Powerpak him and also get the vet out to do some baseline testing (ruling out Cushings, etc.). Sally thinks he looks good (aka not fat for once in his life) but she understands my worry. The grass is coming up but still…I don’t want my fat buckskin back but would like at least my plump one back!
But we had a great fun lesson and he was very good for not being ridden that much lately! And I tell you if you ever have a chance to ride with Sally, do it. We are two intro riders with our quiet, laid back stock horses and she treats us wonderfully as if we show at rated events in Prelim (ha we don’t!). She is down to earth and just great in figuring out the horses and riders and putting it in layman’s terms so we don’t just sit there in a stupor (usually)! And she never ever tells us we are doing it wrong. (Even if we might be.)
Of course, once I untacked and loaded Remus up (WHO WAS VERY SWEATY, at least he sweats, am I right?) and got into the truck to leave I was sweating like crazy so had to put the A/C on in my truck! What the heck??
SPOILER ALERT: The next day I had the heat blowing and HEATED SEATS on. To this Spring weather pendulum swinging, I say:
Up next, dressage lesson and oh no where oh where did our canter departures go (between Remus being lazy and my sore legs from the jump lesson, ha ha it was NOT pretty).