Lesson 8.4

M and Sammy

Wednesday was another wonderful evening for horseback riding!  Most of the snow has melted (finally), and has created a soupy mess of the parking area at the barn.  I had to carefully make my way through the mud, because I was afraid I would slip and fall.  What a mess that would have made!

Wednesday's class was huge!!  Eight riders!  I haven't ridden with that many people at the barn before.  There were so many students that M ran out of horses!  Guess what that meant?  I rode Blondie again in a group lesson for the first time since our disastrous outing a few weeks ago.  Finding tack was a challenge, as that many riders put a strain on the inventory of training equipment.  I am going to have to remember to bring the bridle that M picked up for me at the tack sale.  I rode Blondie with two sets of reins and a running martingale because there wasn't anything else left.  I didn't mind; that's the equipment I prefer to use.

After M hooked up the stretchers to Blondie's front legs, she helped me up and told me to help her when we got near the far door.  The sunlight was streaming through the crack, and Blondie is just terrified of it.  I guess she thinks the blinding glare will consume her or something.  I don't know what goes on in her horsey little brain, but it was a challenge getting her to go by the door without her scooting off to the middle of the arena!

With so many horses in the arena, I had to really pay attention to everything that was going on around us.  Gio started hopping and making a fuss right in front of us, and we had to cut out around him to avoid bashing into him.  Blondie did really well with this until we passed him, and then she pooped out.  M told me I need to add more leg.

We were instructed to trot a small circle right where we were, and to not collide with any of the other horses.  Blondie broke from the trot and we were almost beaned by Jimmy.  I guess she doesn't know how to trot circles yet, and I needed to help her more.  We've never tried this before, so now that I know, I think we can do it the next time we're asked.    Maybe next week?

Things got really interesting during the canter.  M had the Morgans stay on the rail, and the Saddlebreds stand in the middle.  There were four of each, coincidentally.  There were way too many horses to canter all at once, since several of us have issues with that particular gait.  The Morgans went both ways pretty much without a hitch, and then it was the ASBs turn.

We started the second way of the ring, so that Blondie and I could end on a good note.  Robert was behind me, riding Woody.  I asked Blondie for the canter, and she stepped right into it.  Good girl!  This is usually the side we both have problems with.  As we cantered along, I could hear M shouting, "Pull him up!  Pull him up!"  I could also hear Woody bearing down on us.  It sounded like a runaway freight train barreling behind us.  It totally freaked me out because I thought we were going to get run over.  Thankfully, Woody shot by us and swerved to the inside of the arena.  When Robert finally got him under control, M had him stand in the middle until the rest of us were finished.

Blondie picked up the canter the other way, too, and when we were finished, M said that we won the canter!  Blondie didn't quit once, and she had a nice, smooth canter. 

With everybody standing in the middle, M had Robert take Woody back on the rail and try to canter again.  It just wasn't working for them!  Woody kept ducking into the center (we were crowding closer and closer together to avoid getting crushed!).  He does that when I ride him, too.  I felt a lot better about that (sorry, Robert!).

D, who had been watching the lesson without offering much input, finally suggested that Robert let Woody slow gait.  Instead of cantering, they got the rack around the ring!  I was slightly jealous, and if I was a slightly better rider, Blondie and I would have been doing that too!  Hopefully by next spring...

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