Izzy and I tried out the Ainsley saddle on Thursday. Since we were scheduled for our first lesson of the year on Friday, I didn't want to wear her out. We just hacked around and had a blast and the saddle was PERFECT!!!! (Thank you so very much, Gingham.)
Izzy rocks the Ainsley, which ever-so-conveniently also matches my bridle and breastplate. Winning!!
Oh, and the thinline pad is perfect. Life is good.
(Children, do not just drop the reins and back away from your horse to take a picture when she is in an area with no perimeter fence. It's very unsafe and stupid.)
So Friday. We went to our lesson. We rode with Stephanie Goodman, who is brilliant. She has an incredible gift for taking very complex concepts and making them sounds ridiculously simple. It's useful and makes learning easy, but also makes me feel like a moron for not already understanding something so easy. (That's not her fault.) Anyways.
Tack cleaned and ready to go to a lesson.
It was the first time either of us has ridden off property since last October, with predictable results. Izzy was super looky and I rode like an idiot. I was so tense and nervous and stuck that I just kept doing really stupid things, even thought the worst Izzy really did was stop to look at something. Sigh. Stephanie was great though--she kept reminding me that A) the horse is a flight animal and needs to have a look and B) the way I make her feel comfortable is telling her to do something.
Shockingly (not), she was completely right. Izzy settle din pretty well, but I was less successful at unlocking my brain. I unconsciously switched to a total hand ride, which meant we were crooked and unbalanced. When we finally started "jumping" a tiny crossrail and trot pole grid, I had Izzy so backed off and crooked from hand riding, that she actually wouldn't go over the first few times. She basically just drifted out and I couldn't stop her. Then I would leg yield back and she would step over the eensy weensy crossrail.
Then I had her so bottled up that when I tried to ride her forward, she proceeded to just sort of pogo-ed up and down which felt like bucking and then made me scared to go forward. (Told you I rode like an idiot.)
So... despite ending on a positive note, I felt like a total moron who couldn't ride. Stephanie told me I needed to ride more forward with less hand and jump more often (since I admitted to her that we have literally only jumped 3 times this year).
Fortunately, I was able to sneak in a ride Saturday. I pulled out the dressage saddle, and put a dressage whip through my thumbs to force my hands to stay level, even, and uninvolved. It took probably 15 minutes of walking, but I was finally riding well and in tune with Izzy. We trotted for a few minutes and did some figure 8s and leg yields, all hands free. I felt a little better then.
After a relaxing weekend away visiting my husband's family, I'm back in business today. And yes, we will absolutely be pulling out the jump saddle, trot poles, little cross rails, and putting that dressage whip back through my thumbs.