Happy new year! We are expecting rain pretty much all week, but at least it isn't quite so cold. Today I just did a quick bareback ride before work, I thought I got lucky in between showers but ended up getting a little wet. Oh well, Cupid and I had fun.
In our first lesson last week we worked on a skinny jump. After warming up over a few crossrails, I pointed Cupid towards the narrow little vertical at a trot, and he ran out to the left. It caught me by surprise, I didn't think he would have a problem with it. I circled him around and the same thing happened, this time I blamed myself because I should have expected it and held him straight. So our trainer took the pole down and we trotted between the standards a few times. Then Cupid jumped the skinny. We did from both directions and alternated turning left and right after the jump. Then we did a little course, not including the skinny.
At the end of our lesson my trainer said next time we will jump 3' and I thought/hoped he was joking. But at the start of our second lesson he said let's see how high we can jump. Right now I think Cupid's capability exceeds my comfort level, he could jump 3' but I'm still nervous!
We started out with a little grid: pole to half an X, bounce to a vertical, and one stride to a small oxer. In the past I've been leery of grids because I feel like the jumps come up too fast, and I'm worried if something goes wrong on the first one it will be a disaster further down! But over the year I've started getting more comfortable with them, and also my trust in Cupid has increased a lot as I've been able to depend on him to get us through tricky spots. I tried to focus on having Cupid at a nice pace heading into the grid, and then on sinking into my heels and letting his jump naturally bend me at the waist instead of throwing myself. I also need to work on keeping my fingers closed and following with my hands. I did drop the reins a few times, which I think is better than grabbing him in the mouth but something I need to focus on. And also keeping him straight as we tend to drift left. So, lots to remember! The grid was set at kind of a diagonal, so depending on which way we turned it was a little tight either coming into or out of it. But Cupid was nice and relaxed.
Sadly we only have one lesson left with our trainer as he won't be teaching at my barn anymore. :( He has helped Cupid and I improve a lot over the past year and I'll miss him. We learned a lot and I really appreciated his patience with me.