My very first jump lesson

Earlier this evening I had my very first jump lesson.  It was all things.  I felt many ways about it.  I felt good about certain parts; I felt bad about certain parts; and I felt very challenged by certain aspects.

So, let's break it down!

What was good:

  1. The instructor was friendly, seemed knowledgeable, and pushed me, but wasn't mean or overbearing
  2. Her methods seemed humane and effective
  3. I felt like I learned some new things (to discuss later)
  4. I was given homework
  5. Gavin got a hell of a workout

What was bad:

  1. After giving me some instruction on my overly-loose/giving hands, the instructor proceeded to ask who my old dressage instructor was.  When I told her, she almost immediately started some light shit-talking about my old trainer (who happens to be a pretty well known and successful rider/trainer in the area).  Not cool.  I just met you and don't want to talk about my old trainer who happens to be a nice woman who I learned a lot with.  I think it was pretty obvious I didn't want to have that conversation and it didn't get brought up again.
  2. I have completely neglected clipping Gav for the winter so the cool down period was quite lengthy.  But I don't mind hanging with my boy so much ;)
  3. That was really all the bad, oh - except what is with toes having to be pointed completely forward?  I get that it's correct and that it allows more of your leg to lie against the horse.  I've been told to do it my entire riding career, but homies, my legs are NOT built that way.  Yes, I'm admitting that I'm a bit bow-legged.  It hurts them when the toes are turned in.  Also seems unlikely that I'm a more effective rider in that stance, but whatev. Really this is just me bitching.

What was challenging:

  1. Uhhh TWO POINT.  I have a new found respect for all hunter/jumper/eventers.  Pretty much anyone who hangs out in two point with short stirrups.  My thighs were ON FIRE!
  2. Can I say two point again?  Holy moly!
  3. Having your stirrups SOOOO short.  My ankles were quite stretched out by the end.  This is going to take some getting used to.

What did we work on:

  1. It was an intro lesson, so she first just watched us warm-up walk/trot/canter.
  2. She noted that he has short little legs which makes him have a shorter stride than most horses.  She's worried about him being able to keep up in a pair pace, or time in cross country.  So we worked on lengthening at the trot and canter.  I smiled to myself when she asked for this - we've been working on it a lot!  He's a boss at trot lengthening, though sometimes it feels like there's a jetpack attached to his butt and he takes off in his infamous cob trot.  It's crazy feeling.  The canter was also a success.  She said his stride got dramatically longer when I asked for it.  *proud pony mom*
  3. Two point.  THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!
  4. We did some trot poles and we actually had to shorten his stride.  Gavin's like "Oh, my legs are so short, huh? Watch THIS!"

Homework for next week and a half (til next lesson):

  1. Alternate 2 rides with shortened stirrups/2 rides with longer stirrup
  2. Get him more in front of leg with dear Mr. Tappy (whip name stolen from Carly, but it's just so perfect)
  3. 5 strides sitting trot, 5 strides posting trot, 5 strides two point AND REPEAT (ouch)
  4. Continue working on lengthening in all gaits.  :) 

My overall thoughts are positive.  I'm excited to see where this goes and excited to learn some new stuff with my red boy.  :)  PS - she mentioned doing something beginner novice this summer and suggested I watch a couple youtube videos.  I did and promptly shit my pants.  Those jumps look big!