Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Lesson Recap: Trying New Things!

First off, I'm gonna preemptively say I'm sorry I have no media of the ACTUAL lesson. So don't be too disappointed, lol. No promises on any from future lessons either, although if they're on the weekends I am hoping DH will tag along and maybe can get some footage as long as he can stay out of the way. 

Ruby is ashamed of my lack of media. 

Friday didn't get off to the greatest start - when I went out on my morning break to hook the trailer, I was in the bed of the truck connecting all the chains when a wasp FLEW INTO MY HEAD. I'm not sure it's really ever come up on here, but I have an irrationally PATHOLOGICAL fear of stinging flying insects. No matter how much I tell myself that they won't bother me if I just stay still and don't bother them, I cannot stop myself from (usually) screaming and flailing and trying to escape. Not such a big deal if I'm on the ground and have plenty of space to move away from them, sort of a different deal when I'm in the back of the truck bed. I blindly threw myself off the (very very very) tall truck bed, misjudged the distance to the ground, crashed on my hands and knees in very fine sharp gravel, and came within about 4" of smashing my head into the open truck door. Oh yeah, and I tweaked my back really badly. Like..... 3 hours before the lesson. Cool cool cool cool cool. Definitely also didn't help alleviate any of the anxiety I referenced in yesterday's post. But I got the truck hooked, packed, and I went back inside and tried to calm down a bit. I'm still on a daily prescription anti-inflammatory for another week or so (from the cellulitis bullshit) so I just took Friday's dose a little early to try to prevent my back from locking up on the hour+ drive to the lesson. 

Did not get a chance to bathe my horse like I wanted, but at least she's reasonably shiny naturally. 

The drive to the barn wasn't too bad - the highway was super manageable, and the barn wasn't *too* far off the highway. I did have a few uncomfortable moments trying to make some of the turns, and then the last few miles were on an extremely narrow road that didn't really lend itself to a rig the size of mine, but we made it, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I pulled into the farm drive. I had allowed myself plenty of time, so I left Ruby on the trailer for a moment and poked my head into the arena to make sure where I parked was okay. New instructor had left out a release form to sign, and told me there was an empty stall at the end of the barn I could use to tack up. I told her it was no problem, Ruby would be fine to tack at the trailer, so I signed the form and headed back out to get ready. 

Country horse at the big city barn, lol. All that showing off the trailer when she was younger paid off, she literally gives zero fucks and will tie to the trailer all day (although if she was going to be there longer than a few minutes I would hang hay and water).  

Lots of nice comments on her though, so apparently we didn't look TOO scruffy! I didn't want to immediately scare off the new instructor with all my TEAL, so we went with an understated look for the first lesson - my black/teal ME boots and bells, the black Mattes with petrol sheepskin and binding, a black bonnet, and a bridle with a teal browband. I wore black breeches and a black/petrol colored Kastel. 

Picked up this fly bonnet from Aimee a while back and figured it would make me laugh if I relaxed enough to notice it, and if not, it was understated enough no one else would notice it.... lol. 

She had some CONCERNS about walking into the big fancy concrete aisle, so we hung out eating cookies until she relaxed enough to walk down the aisle without tip-toeing. She really wanted to be friends with all the horses, particularly a super cute pony. 

She's beautiful. I'm biased, but we all know it's true. 

Sniffing their Theraplate. 

For the first lesson, it was mostly about getting to know each other - I gave her some history on our background (both mine and Ruby's), sketched out what my goals were, and then we got to work. Since my formal instruction still probably numbers fewer than 30 lessons spread out over the course of 20 years, and Ruby has been in inconsistent work for the last 2.5 years between weather, building the house, and covid, we started off with the very basics. She put us on a 20-meter circle and we worked on consistency at the walk and trot, as she quickly identified some problem areas: oh hello narcissistic left hand, I haven't forgotten you and apparently you haven't gone away! I'm a little sad there isn't media, because we did have some really, really nice moments. Ruby was a little backed off in a new place, so there was very little in the way of freight train moments, and she was very amenable to taking direction. In the last few minutes, I did ask if I could canter, since my arena is a bit smaller than a regulation small court, and I feel like sometime we can get motorcycle-y when the canter isn't balanced. New instructor gave me some good corrections at the canter, and actually she liked the right lead better than the left, because Ruby let me influence it a bit more. It was also WAY easier to sit than it is at home, so IDK what sorcery that was, but I wasn't complaining. We couldn't hold it long, because we were both pretty tired at the end for 40+ minutes of solid work (which admittedly is longer than most of my schooling rides, although I'm working up to that level of fitness). New instructor had lots of nice things to say about Ruby's gaits, her brain, her "yes ma'am I'll give it a try" attitude when I could organize my body to ask for things correctly, and even nice comments about her looks and topline. She had a lesson starting as soon as mine ended, but I asked if I could hose Ruby off in their washrack before we headed home (which she was fine with). So I stripped tack and brought Ruby back in the barn to hose her off, running into a few more nice people at the barn, all of whom had kind things to say and were so friendly and welcoming. It was just overall such a good, positive experience, which I really needed. When we were hammering out the original schedule, I actually also nabbed another lesson date this weekend, so before I loaded up and headed out I told her I'd see her again next week! :)

The face of someone who is very tired but also very proud. 

Hosed off and about to load up and head home!

The drive home was equally uneventful, and I unloaded Ruby just in time to throw dinner grain and then turn her out for the evening, where she gleefully found the biggest dirt patch she could and got stupid dusty, lol. Overall I was just super proud of her for the whole experience - we may not know very much, but she is such a sensible, fun horse who is always game to show up to a completely new place and let me ask her to do weird things. And as much as I like to deflect when people compliment that, I DID buy her as a half-feral yearling and she's been ridden by like 3 other people in her entire life (none more than a single ride or two), so I've done *some* things right with her for her to be this nice, and she will only get nicer as we both get more educated. So I'm proud of both of us :)

22 comments:

  1. What a great first lesson. I get exhausted just by being stressed so I can imagine how tired you were at the end. It sounds like a wonderful place.

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    1. Yeah after I got home and did chores I basically collapsed in a pile on the couch and didn't move except to refill my drink 🤣

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  2. This is so amazing, I just read this with a huge smile on my face! I am both proud of you and happy for you!

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  3. Amazing! Sounds like it went so well. Big high five for getting out there, I know all too well how hard that can be <3

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    1. And I have zero excuses, my getting out there doesn't involve a ferry ride and an overnight trip 😁 you're an inspiration!

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  4. Well done, you! We are all on different paths but as long as we are open to learn, the horses will come with us. And Ruby is truly a gem. Congratulations!

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  5. Yay!!! You've done a fantastic job with Ruby and you are with Cinna too. I'm glad a qualified professional thinks so too! I'm excited for you guys!

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    1. Aww thank you 😊 baby steps! I'm looking forward to being able to lay the building blocks to hopefully eventually do more exciting things than training level dressage 🤣🤣

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  6. Glad you found a trainer that you mesh with!
    That ear bonnet though ... 🤣🤣

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  7. Yayyy, you should be proud!!!

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  8. So fabulous! Good on you for getting out there and having fun! :-) Ruby is a gorgeous mare!

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  9. I'm proud of both of y'all as well! And I'm glad the people at the new barn are nice too - it makes a big difference

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    1. Thank you! And yes, the people at the barn contribute significantly to the atmosphere so I'm glad everyone was nice!!

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  10. This is awesome! Minus the wasp incident

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  11. Yaaaay, well done! I totally empathise on the wasp-phobia - I am afraid of rats, of all things. Farm girl through and through, I'll catch a snake with a dressage whip and an old Tupperware, but no rats, thanks. I will flee shrieking.
    Ruby's dapples are so beautiful <3 and she is a real credit to your training!

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