I have officially begun my foray into the world of eventing. That’s right: I took my first riding lesson at the new barn.
I rode a lovely, massive draft-cross named Stryder. He is a gray Percheron crossed with…something. No one is quite sure, apparently. But he is a sweetheart and just goes right along. The new trainer – let’s call her Trainer B – had me work on getting him to stretch and lengthen. We did this at the trot, then moved to the canter and worked on adjusting from forward and long to short and compact.
Then, as the light was getting too faint, we headed into the indoor where Trainer B could put me through my paces over fences. And she did. We started over ground poles to work on the stride length within a line at first. Then she popped up some crossrails. She must have decided that I proved myself capable of jumping over things decently enough because then she bumped them up to verticals and she sent me around a course with bending lines, single diagonals with long approaches and a four-stride line.
By the end, she had Stryder and me going over fences that were probably 2’9″ at least – maybe 3 foot? Not sure, I’m terrible at judging height. Whatever, they looked decently big and were a blast to jump!
The big takeaway: Even though I never really set out to become a “hunter rider,” and my previous barn prioritized riding well and safely over looking pretty, I have seriously internalized some things that are going to have to change.
Lesson one: Sitting up is hard. I have the hunter lean/closed hip angle down pat. So, opening that hip angle to get them under my shoulders while keeping said shoulders back and not sticking my tailbone toward the back of the saddle is tough.
Lesson two: This is going to be so. much. fun.