I had a brilliant ride this morning. Picture me saying that with a British accent and we'll be on the same page.
Since Izzy's back at the old barn with no turnout, I lunged her for a long time. She needs it. She's a horse that really and truly needs turnout. With it, she's as calm and mellow as she could possibly be. Without, she's a nutjob. I try to compromise; I turn her out in the arena when possible (but that's only about 20-30 minutes at a time) and I lunge before every ride. My lunging is not structured; it's just for her to blow off steam.
So anyways. After lunging, I hopped on and off we went. Izzy was really quite good. We worked on maintaining a steady contact and me riding her up to it from her hind end. (Yay! She's doing really well.) She seems to be figuring out that I'm serious about it, so she's been a lot better about it.
Next we worked on a jumping exercise. It looked like this:
Yep. A single trot pole. We trotted over it both directions until we could both do it calmly and in balance without rushing off afterward. Then we cantered over it both directions. My goal was to begin to train myself to see a distance. (And since it's a pole, no one cares if I screw up.) It was a whole new experience for me, but I got Izzy to canter to it and put her front legs on one side with her hind on the other. It took a bit for me to start saying "Ok, push for this one" or "I need to hold for that" and I have a LONG way to go, but I definitely felt like it was a start.
We finished by trotting a small course of trot poles. It was a pretty illogical course, but I was more worried about rhythm, softness, and direction and less worried about the flow of the course. Izzy did quite nicely through it all.
In other news... School has started here, which means that Cathy lost two of her morning cleaners. It affects me in that she wants me to pick up the extra hours. I don't want to, but I understand she is in a genuinely tight spot. HOWEVER, the life skill I am working on right now is making good decisions to reduce stress levels in my life. It is NOT a good decision to take on more hours when I'm already irritated about working too much to board at a place with no turnout, no shelters, and no indoor. So. I thought about it. And I said this, "Well, if you're willing to ride Izzy (full training) for a month, I'll take the hours for a month. We can figure something out after that." **
I know you're all proud of me for standing up and saying what I thought, but it gets better. Cathy sort of hemmed and hawed about time and then said something like, "Well, I guess if I'm cleaning, then I'm also not riding." Notice how I did not just back down and say, "Oh. I'm so sorry that would be an inconvenience. Nevermind."
That is what insecure teenage me would have said. Starting to grow up me is thinking that it makes more financial and equine sense to move Izzy somewhere she'd be happier and just have me pick up a few more hours at a non-horsey job to pay for it. And honestly, as much as I like and respect Cathy as a trainer and a person, I'm not willing to continue this arrangement forever. Izzy needs turnout. I need a trainer who can give me lessons reliably and will say no to other people instead of just saying yes to everyone and me getting pushed aside. Insecure me would say, "Well, they're paying and I'm just a working student." Growing up me says, "I'm providing you with a valuable service and I am worth your time."
We'll see where this goes. I'm intrigued by the idea of actually just paying board every month and letting someone else muck stalls. Of course I'll still be hands-on with Izzy's care, but I'm kind of over this whole thing I'm doing now.
**If I take on the extra hours, I will be responsible for the morning cleaning (and usually feeding) of 22 horses 5x a week. That's at least 20 hours a week and it more than pays for full training every month, I'm pretty sure. Oh, and I make more at my other jobs than I do there...