But it was short-lived. Once again, Gem didn't want to lope. He started tossing his head, bending or backing up. I did use the whip once on his butt-inski (not very hard because it still makes me nervous!) - he bucked a bit and then loped..... beautifully. I was relaxed and felt that my balance was pretty good. We went around the arena twice!! Yipee!
LA had poles and a cavelletti set up, so all of us were excited. It's a nice change from the usual lesson. We walked the course first:
- Over 4 poles
- Wind through 3 upright poles
- Walk into a "box" and do a 360 turn
- Over the cavelletti (set at the lowest setting)
- Walk in between two poles and then back out
- Do a side pass over a pole
When my turn came up again, LA told me she wanted to see us jog over the cavelletti, not walk. Darn, I didn't think she had noticed. :-) We approached the cavelletti at a jog and Gem jumped over it....I mean JUMPED like he did the last time. I lost my stirrups and almost came out of the saddle. I didn't freak out and kept moving at a jog. The crowd was cheering at how big Gem's jump was. He was really getting into the spirit of things. We went through the course again at a jog, and this time I just relaxed and let it happen.....was this the Advil talking again?? He jumped it again and it was beautiful. I did not loose my stirrups and I actually felt OK when we landed.
Because his jump was so much bigger than the other horses, LA told me she was making the cavelletti higher for us. There was a brief moment of panic, but then I remembered what Marissa at Tucker the Wunderkind said the last time we jumped: "I do have to scold you though, because in my experience if a trainer suggests that we do something, it means we're completely capable of doing it (regardless of whether or not we think we're ready). Next time LA suggests that you try something outside your comfort zone, I think you need to shut your brain off and follow orders." OK, Marissa. Deep breath and off we went.
LA was yelling instructions at me as I completed the upright poles and headed towards the cavelletti. I guess in my excitement, I cued Gem into a LOPE. Yep, a lope. I didn't panic (WTH??). We jumped the cavelletti at a lope! Up and over. I couldn't believe it. My classmates were yelling and LA came over to us and gave me a high-five. I couldn't stop smiling.
When class was over, Gem and I helped LA bring the poles to the back of the arena; while still in the saddle, LA would hand me the end of the pole and Gem and I would drag it over to the pile. It was a good exercise. Geez, those poles are heavy!
What a great lesson. I have no idea why Gem was grumpy and pushy when we first started out, but it didn't bother me or set the tone for a tense lesson. Perhaps the confidence I gained at last lesson saw me through this one. Perhaps the Advil I took relaxed the tense muscles I get after a long day at work enough to let me ride like I should? Do they make an Advil equivalent for horses??? :-)
We came to the conclusion at Beers and Burgers that Gem could have a career as comedic relief for other classes....as a jumper....or as a logging horse. I have no real stiffness or whiplash today. I am still amazed at my accomplishments last night and am wondering if taking Advil should become part of my normal routine on Tuesday nights. Will Advil become my version of "Mother's little helper"....? If it means that all my lessons will be as awesome as last night, then it just might! :-)
What was I thinking....?