Clearly I've been lacking in creative post titles...anyways..I had my first lesson! And it was a jump lesson (minus the jumping?). I literally haven't sat in my jump saddle in probably two years. Like holy crap. Jumping is really where my heart is (you know..the whole Two-Point part of my blog) and it kills me to not do it anymore.
I've been teasing the idea of having a jump lesson for a long time now, and I finally put myself out there and made it happen. Neither of the first 3 trainers I had previously tried to lesson with worked out, so I went with whoever got back to me first! This trainer is located in my town so it is pretty convenient to get to her place. She also hosts some derbies and league dressage shows so I was glad to check the place out.
I rode an OTTB gelding named Bullwinkle, who is primarily used as a lesson horse for the kids. However, W (trainer) assured me he is a nice horse underneath the lesson pony exterior. I felt like a jockey when I first got on, and W informed me that my stirrups were about somewhere between flatting length and jump length, so the transition up to jump won't be as awkward as I anticipate.
We started out doing exercises at the walk just so I could get a feel for him. It was embarrassing how much I struggled at the beginner work. Once we started trotting I got some sort of groove back. He responded especially well to my seat and leg aids (besides the whole forward one) and put himself rather nicely on the bridle. Apparently I don't lose all of my riding skills when I shorten my stirrups!
W didn't know what to expect of me as a rider and was excited to see how put together Bullwinkle became, compared to the normal plodding along he normally does. I was given a lovely compliment that she would love for me to ride him whenever I could, but I'm pretty sure she changed her mind once she saw how awkward I got at the canter haha.
I'm already awkward enough trying to post the trot without feeling like I'm launching myself out of the stirrups, so getting a canter transition was...interesting. I couldn't just sit and use my outside leg and shift my weight to get a soft transition. It almost reminded me of riding Merlot. He ran into the canter and I stayed in half seat trying to sort everything out. I'm sure if I would have just ignored my awkward body and just forced myself to ride like I know how, I would have been fine.
After that mess we went back to trotting and practiced two-pointing. I seriously was like "yeah I can totally hold a two-point no problem" and then I did and was like THIS IS SO MUCH HARDER THAN I REMEMBER. I kept falling (gently) back on my seat or needing to rest my hands on his neck. My thighs were burning. I have a feeling I know what I will be doing in lessons from now on.
We ended by trotting some poles between standards. By this point, Bullwinkle was tired and me trying to both two-point, steer, and keep a forward trot stride left me exhausted too. Overall it was a really fun lesson! I felt like a total beginner but I'm sure I'll get some strength and muscle memory back and will progress forward.