This past week I experienced an embarrassing lesson in steering.
When people ask me how old theirs kids should be before they start riding, I always answer with a “when they can understand steering”. So by that note–I should not currently be enrolled in our lesson program. Palm to face.
In our last lesson we were working on a course full of twists, turns, pace questions, lead changes…all the wonderful things that require both lots of steering and use of your eyes. This is what I get lessoning with the jumper girls. It was going okay, our first attempt I neglected to ignite any kind of momentum from Dee. So we chipped here, chipped there, chipped everywhere!! Gross guys, so gross.
Off we went to try it again, with Trainer making my reins long and loopy. I was instructed to not touch them during the course except to open them. For a hot minute, I actually felt like Dee was going to run away with me. (Pause for laughter…we just actually had the correct amount of pace to navigate our funky course.)
Having “no” reins, made such a huge difference. We nailed the distances this time, with Dee really stretching down, and even though I felt like I have zero control, it forced me to really sit up and support. Voila better riding! This is why trainers make the big bucks.
We gave Dee a minute to catch her breath, and off we went to polish our efforts a bit. Here’s a lovely diagram of the chaos that was this course. I’m super proud that I remembered which jump I was supposed to be at.
I did good things over jumps 1-3, landing the leads, and not creeping up on my reins. Except that after jump 3, when we turn to jump 4, I forgot something very important. It is vital to steer AROUND solid objects. Even this handy little horse couldn’t make the turn I asked for, and I connected my left kneecap to the wooden standard on a jump in our turn. The whole jump (one we weren’t jumping) toppled over and instantly my whole left leg went numb. It hurt. A lot.
I really wanted to go finish the course, but trainer made me stay put. After a few minutes, my foot and calf were still numb and we could see the swelling through my breeches. My lesson looked pretty over. Off I went to Urgent Care to be sure I didn’t crack anything. After a very long night I was dubbed “pretty banged up” and sent home with painkillers and instructions to not ride until I could do stairs/run/etc. without pain. I know it happens plenty of times, but that doesn’t make you feel any less like a total goob.
And here I am at a week plus from that date and it is STILL sore. I still can’t do stairs very well and I haven’t tried to ride.
So please, humor me, has anyone else ran themselves into a jump instead of around it lately?