To start off, I have a very funny barn anecdote to share. So Sunday was a little messy outside. The weather climbed up to a balmy 20 degrees (although it was windy so it didn’t feel quite that warm). The rapidly melting piles of snow created a sort of mudeggedon situation in my area of Ontario. The mud was so deep and squelchy (I hope you know what I mean by that), that the mud actually sucked off both my boots as I was out to get Gordon. So, I was standing in the mud in my sock-feet, trying to find firm(ish) ground to stand in to pull my boots back out. It was disgusting, but absolutely hilarious. Apparently the barn owner saw everything from a distance, and was sad that he didn’t have a camera or phone on him to record it and submit to AFHV or YouTube. Later that day another horse owner got fully stuck, and it took two other people to pull her out. I think her boots remained in the mud for the remainder of the day because they couldn’t be pulled out. Very messy situation near the gate. If Gordon was my horse I wouldn’t have let him in this for fear of his getting caught and panicking and injuring himself. However, all of the horses seem fine, so I’m glad that that worked out okay.
Anyway, so after the mud bath I unintentionally took, I had a pretty good ride. I decided to ride in the jumping saddle long and low to avoid some of the heaviness/fighting for the bit problems that had plagued us the previous ride. Gordon was really responsive and calm. I decided to do a small cross-rail and vertical while I was riding in the jumping saddle. At first Gordon was super forward towards the jumps, but after half-halting every stride leading towards the jump (and letting him open only about two strides before), we got some really nice canter and great jumps. However, when I put the height up a bit, Gordon started acting a bit silly. He was pretty much just rushing things and getting too excited – and also skittering away from my left (inside) leg, which he has a habit of doing sometimes. Anyway, in the end things were fine and overall it was a pretty good ride. It was only my third time jumping Gordon and it gives me a lot of hope that we will have some really fun times over-fences this summer. There are three schooling shows happening at the barn where Gordon is boarded, so we might do some fun low hunter courses there just for a change of pace from dressage.
Tuesday I had a less fun ride. Tuesday was close to thirty degrees colder than Sunday (the joys of spring in Canada), and the wind was whistling like crazy. As a result, Gordon was super spooky and was eyeing everything. This made me nervous, which I’m sure he sensed and which probably resulted in his becoming more nervous. We actually had a fairly decent ride though, in that Gordon was way lighter than he was last week. We had some really beautiful moments of trot and canter that felt really pro. However, because of my nerves, for much of the ride I was leaning forward too much, which is something I really need to be cognizant of. A hunt or forward seat comes much more naturally to me than a dressage seat, so I need to always work at this. But concentrating on my eq. too much can sometimes distract me from “listening” to the horse and responding fluidly – so I will really need to work at striking a better balance between these two elements. Anyway, so things ended up okay, but it wasn’t a particularly fun ride because I was nervous the whole time. This got me questioning whether we would be ready for the first silver dressage show, which is coming up May 11th. I haven’t even had the opportunity to ride Gordon outside yet, and I don’t know what he’s like off-property. Maybe I’m rushing things too much and should just wait for the next show in June to ensure that I’m really ready – mentally and physically? Anyway, I have a week or two more to decide, so there’s no big rush there.