On Weds I rode even harder. I rode in the jump saddle with no stirrups and went over a small cavaletti. We rode for almost 40 mins and it was the very first time Mia has broken into a sweat since this ordeal started. I was quite pleased to see how secure I felt, however, and I felt ready for my lesson!
Thursday brought my lesson (I TOTALLY should have used my Pivo! I didn't even think about it!). I did warn A that I was pretty tight despite stretching due to the workouts I had done that week, including over 60 crunches on Tuesday. Abs were crying! Our lesson kicked off and we did all of the normal lunge line things. W/T/C. Again but with arms in the air, holding our legs up, legs back, hands on hips. I will say, cantering with no stirrups with your hands on your hips while you swing your body to look left and right was legit harder than I expected and was the only balance exercise I struggled with.
Mia was moving exceptionally well (FINALLY!) and we quickly started going over the small cavaletti. We found a hole in my training and suddenly I earned my stirrups back, balance was certainly not something to work on so time to work on something else! One thing I have always done, and have even talked about it on the blog, is I have loose hands going over fences. I have never wanted to jerk or grab their mouth on landing so if the horse needs it, on landing they can take as much rein as they want. (Sorry A!!) I do actually know this isn't great, especially over larger fences, but my horses have always been great about not taking the reins all of the time and when I DO need them, I don't slide them or I am a-ok jumping with long reins. A, however, was not okay with this. At all. I got a nice long talking to over this matter. Oops!
After I got my stirrups back, we started trying to install a new program for my arms. My hands have to follow the horse and I cannot slip the reins. The only way it "worked" was when I had my hands way up in a long crest release. I....I have never ridden like this. I have never ridden with a crest release at all, I only jump with an automatic release. Not only did it feel weird, it was quite difficult for me! Not only that, she had me imitating jumpers by pushing my butt up and out while doing the long crest release. Oy vey!!
To say the lesson kicked our butts would be an understatement. I finally feel the fire in my belly again though! A said I have exceptional balance and balls of steel. Everything she asked me to do, I did without hesitation (except these changes to my riding style lol), including the time she set up a 3'3" jump. Which we haven't done since spring. The thing to work on is developing a following hand, I am not allowed to let my reins slip if I am not going over a drop fence. She says I probably drive Mia crazy with my constant rein futzing, as I drive A nuts and she isn't a horse lol. I also have excellent position in a saddle, but my two point without stirrups is non-existent. Hmm. Oh, and I am also standing on my toes in two point instead of sinking in my heels? Weird, as I have tons of pictures that show the opposite, but that could also be due to the lack of jumping this year? It is on my homework list!
Always something to work on, we are far from perfect My homework is to start bringing Mia back to fitness with lots of cross country or road work. Which is difficult since I can only ride outside 2 days a week now, but fitness is something we can do. I also need to put myself over some small cavaletti more to figure out this long crest release/following hand business. I think I have the perfect use for the Pivo tonight!