Today was another one of those wonderful days, and I've a feeling most days are going to be wonderful from now on. (Now there's positive thinking if I do say so myself!)
First thing this morning my friend came over to come with me to the stables to watch my lesson.
"I've brought a camera," she said. "I hope you don't mind if I take some pictures."
Mind?! Are you crazy?!!
It was a jumping lesson on a mare called Siobhan. She's a feisty one and had her ears pinned back as soon as I approached, so my instructor put her bridle on, saying she was paid to risk getting bitten. I'm at the stage where I kind of wanted to be taught how to deal with her, but I let her get on and settled on watching intently. The technique? Go in to stable confidently and simply put on bridle, taking care not to get fingers in mouth. Easy!
I rode Siobhan (silly name for a horse!) last jumping lesson, and although I was told she can get excited, she hadn't last time. Obviously she was just duping me into a false sense of security! As soon as we started jumping she stepped up the pace (which of course was marvellous fun!). We did cross poles and a low upright, but the purpose of today's lesson was to start learning about combinations of jumps, and making it round a little course. I had such fun, despite not having an awful lot of control over where she went, or how fast she went there!
First route:It started well, at least! Made the sharp turn from C to H and towards B, and jumped the little upright. But then she ran out to the side of the pole on the ground, and ran out on the next jump too. But then I fought with her and won, over the final jump - hurrah! That's why I'm leaning to the side so much as we did a bit of zig-zagging before she agreed at the last minute! We did eventually get round following the intended route, so was very pleased.
This time Siobhan got really excited. The first time round I managed to get around the intended path, but it was jerky and difficult. After that, to quell her excitement, we were supposed to trot in a controlled manner over ONE jump, and then canter the rest, only she put her foot on the gas at C with sheer joy, and raced over both sets of cross poles (as illustrated above)! Try as I might I couldn't get her to jump one without the other, and in the end she landed badly on her front foot and we called it a day.
It was such good fun. I love jumping! And I love the challenge of trying to work out a course and get the horse to actually follow it! I was going to go on hack on Friday, but the road's gone and collapsed - which is very selfish of it I think - so no hacking till they fix it. Boo hoo.
Addendum: My friend took a wee video too... (note that Siobhan wanted to go over the second set of poles and I had a real fight to get her to turn in, hence the wobbles!)
After riding I met up with two of my old students for lunch. I had such a good time, and it was lovely to catch up with them at the end of their final year. It reminded me of how stressful that time was - trying to finish a dissertation along with countless other essays. It was a nightmare (and this is meant as consolation all you final year BA students!) that only paled into insignificance when I started the PGCE (Primary) straight afterwards! Anyway, we had a lovely lunch, great conversation and a good laugh. And they brought me an orchid! How cool is that!
And the day isn't over yet... having had a fab meal cooked by hubby, I'm off to luxuriate in a lavender bath to ease the old shoulder pain.
And Easter is coming too! Chocolate! Can't cope!