First of all, the intense riding rage has thankfully passed and both the Mare and I seem to be significantly more pleasant creatures.
Secondly, after the very-terrible-horrid-no-good-ride I texted S and all but demanded that we have a lesson Tuesday so that someone could call me on my crap. I felt like this was a mature, responsible decision (as opposed to kicking my pony with both legs and pouting).
When I pulled into the barn S was on a really nice hunter just swirling around the big outdoor. Big sweeping turns with a nice, relaxed, low frame... looking like a quiet calm hunter should. I was thinking that I should go get the big mare so she could watch when I realized that it was the big mare doing her best hunter impression. (sneaky)
|Not the longest-lowest moment, but she's so cute!|
So I settled in and watch S continue the ride for a few minutes and realized that it's time for another blog confession:
Not only do I like the mare in the refined, fancy stitched hunt tack, but I also like the mare in a long and low hunter frame.
Even more surprising, unlike two months ago when more than four strides of long-and-low caused the mare to lose her balance and get freaked out... the mare seemed to really enjoy the ride.
Admittedly, her head set was not... perfectly consistent, but I did like that Prairie was actively balancing herself more and relying on her rider less. That seems like a good thing regardless of what tack we're wearing.
Then it was time for me to get on. Having never sat in a jump saddle on P2, my balance felt all strange and wonky. Almost like she was a totally new horse. But we settled in and despite my ridiculously-stiff-dress-boots, I sorta got my heel down and leg wrapped around the mare.
I liked how she went in the bit. A lot. I couldn't tell much on the saddle front because I felt so different that everything was strange, but I think I liked it (I'm just not sure). It was certainly nice to get up off her back at the canter a bit, that was just fun.
To finish up the ride, S placed three poles on the curve of a circle and asked us to maintain bend/tempo/balance over them. This was not so easy, but Prairie figured it out the second time through and started adjusting herself on the approach. Then we moved into the canter and this was more difficult. The mare gave some valiant efforts but as she got tired it got really hard to find our spot and I didn't have enough horse left to adjust her well going in.
Prairie seemed to enjoy the pole work quite a bit, and at least at the beginning of the canter set, she was balancing well, focusing well and really eager. I was balancing well and focusing, but totally failing to use my outside leg which made the whole "maintain bend" thing a bit harder than necessary. I really need to figure out why I keep abandoning my outside leg. Or maybe I don't need to figure out why, I just need to stop doing it. That would be an ok thing too.
All in all it was total redemption from our craptastic outing on Monday. It also has me considering some more cross training for the beast. I can't imagine a giant, long-lined, black warmblood winning any hunter hack classes, but it could be fun to hit some schooling shows and just see what happens. Also, I think there's a distinct possibility that the mare might enjoy some small jumps. She definitely perks up and becomes easier to balance and set back when she's doing pole work... who knows.
I am still confused by the fact that I liked Prairie in a more refined bridle... I've recently been tack-whoring for a new one and obsessed with finding a big thick noseband with some gold accents to match our new saddle...
|with a 1.5" nose and the Dorado gold.... let me know|