I don’t care how old I get / how advanced I might get…my go-to for courses, especially ones with plenty of long approaches, is to count. I know some riders sing, others talk, but there is something ridiculously therapeutic about counting 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 and so on. With a greenie like O was when I bought her it helped me regulate the pace, to be an active rider. With Dee it operates in the exact opposite way, it distracts me from micro-managing the long approach or picking at the distances. But regardless, it is my go – to maneuver.
This weeks lesson had a long approach small single to start off, where you really hard to get the pace early on. Then a long 3 stride off a short approach. To a nice moving two stride. To another super long approach single oxer. So lots of great questions! My job was to get the pace early on, keep Dee bouncy and block that outside shoulder around the turns. After running through each component individually, we strung it all together.
And it was good. Like it felt good, Dee felt good, pace was correct. I even gave a tiny, slightly embarrassing “whoop” at Dee once we landed the last oxer. We let her be done with that. It couldn’t have gone any smoother in my mind. It might have been due to my obsessive 1, 2, 1, 2 (you can totally hear me coming to the oxer) counting, but whatever it is, I’ll take it!
Please also note, that I had packed for my lesson the night before, grabbing a purple Kastel shirt. Once at work, I realized I had both a purple saddle pad AND a purple trimmed bonnet in my car…cue fabulous idea to convince the two other adult ammies in my lesson to go matchy match. One went all navy, one went all black/grey and I was in purple. I don’t know if Dee has ever even wore a horse hat, but it was really fun dressing her up!