- Things have been going pretty well lately with my riding. So well, actually, that I haven’t posted anything about them because there hasn’t been a lot to say beyond, “Damn, that was awesome!” Cinnamon and I have been working more on being straight and forward. Cinn walks like a drunken sailor half the time, largely because he is trying to cut in to the center of the ring and…you know, stop working. If you drop his inside rein for a second, he’s got his nose to the middle and he’s swerving. For most of his problems, forward is the answer, because if he’s forward, he doesn’t have time for shenanigans. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like to go forward because, well, then he won’t have time for shenanigans.
- A couple of weeks ago, I was cantering Cinn, and it was probably one of our better trips around the ring. As we went around, he stumbled, and my reins came out of my hands. Rather than panic – which is usually my first reaction – I just collected my reins up and kept going. I didn’t even realize what had happened until all of a sudden, I heard my trainer yell, “Good girl, keep going!” Truth be told, my lessons have been exponentially better after that little confidence boost.
- Last week, I rode Suzie, because Cinnamon had had a show with the younger girls earlier in the day (and apparently did very well – they brought home a Champion, a Reserve Champion, and something like four firsts and a smattering of seconds). I love Cinn, but Sue is such a pleasure. She’s forward on her own, and I don’t constantly have to get after her to make her move. Also? When I ask her to canter, she does it. It takes Cinn a while, partially because he’s lazy, but also partially because when he came to my trainer several years ago, he was a retired – and poorly trained – gaming and barrel horse. He apparently had no conception of how to canter under saddle, and consequently still struggles with balancing himself, particularly to the right.
- My trainer was so pleased with the way I cantered on Suzie that I’m going to be alternating between her and Cinnamon for a while. Cinn is always my favorite buddy, but I’m really learning to enjoy Sue. She’s quirky in her own way – very skin sensitive (brush her gently and quickly), she has to chew on her halter before you put her bridle on, and she basically has ADHD; she hates to stand still. But under saddle, she’s responsive and willing, and a better babysitter than I’d expect for an 18-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred mare who used to be a lunatic show jumper.
- Still can’t hit my effing diagonals. I can get them maybe 60% of the time, but at least I’m starting to know when I’m wrong?