Friday - Cupid got a well deserved day off!
Saturday - I tacked Cupid up in my jump saddle for our lesson, but the arena was pretty busy and the footing was a little uneven (several big wet spots) so we ended up doing flatwork. Cupid was very good about staying focused with all the activity around him. We even had a horse come over a jump coming towards us pretty close, and Cupid was not bothered. We spent a lot of time on a 20 meter circle or down at one end of the arena because of all the traffic (including a lunging horse down at the other end, 2 flat lessons, and someone jumping). I'm not feeling Cupid reaching for the bit like a did a few weeks ago and would like to get that connection back, but I am happy with how mature he has been behaving!
I gave Cupid a full bath after our lesson, for the first time in a while.
Sunday - My trainer rode Cupid. She said they worked mainly on getting his hind end under him. She did the same exercises I have been doing in lessons, like trotting a 20 meter circle, doing a 10 meter circle in sitting trot, and going back on the bigger circle. She said he was very good.
Monday - Cupid and I went on a hack around the property. He was good, no spooks. We trotted up one little hill, and did some bending exercises and little leg yields on the wider paths.
Tuesday - We had a jumping lesson. It started off very good as we warmed up over a cross rail, first trotting then cantering from both directions. There were 2 other horses being ridden and one lunged in the arena, but Cupid was focused on the job. We had one long spot, but then I tried to half halt a few strides before the jump and make sure I was sitting up all the way to the base. Once Cupid added a stride without me asking, he is learning that is what we want him to do!
Then I was coming around, and hadn't realized my trainer raised the jump to a vertical, and the two other horses were right around the fence too so I got a little distracted, thought about circling but went ahead to the jump, and we knocked the rail. But we went back and did it a few times clean.
Then we did a little course: starting with the vertical on the left lead, circle back to another vertical on the diagonal, then a figure-eight to a cross rail on the other diagonal and back over the first fence again - my trainer initially said 5 strides but it was an even 6 for us each time. We went through it a few times, but my anxiety was building even though it was going well. So my trainer lowered the first jump back to a cross rail and the second jump to the ground, and told me to just focus on the flatwork in between the jumps! Then made me go through the last line twice more after, saying I can do this and need to push myself a little to grow.
Wednesday - Lunge line lesson. Cupid trucked around like an old school horse! Even when I was doing loosening exercises like windmilling my arms, lifting my legs straight off his sides, looking up at the roof, and leaning all the way back he just flicked an ear back at my like what on earth is going on up there, before shrugging it off and continuing on. I was thinking he could be a good therapy horse one day in the distant future. We put side reins on and looped the reins through the throatlatch so I can really focus on my seat.
I always knew I had tight hip flexors (joys of being a runner), but I never really thought about how it affected my riding. A few years ago my old trainer had me doing the lifting the legs exercise and I remember it hurting, and I really felt it today. I held it for about 5 seconds, short rest, and we did it many times. It hurt at first, but after a few times wasn't as bad. My trainer didn't know I had trouble with this, but said it makes sense that it is more natural and comfortable for me to lean forward because it keeps my hips closed. I'm going to try to do more hip opener exercises off the horse and hopefully that will help.
We did posting 2 beats sitting one beat up. Then we took the stirrups off and I practiced sitting trot. I tend to try to clamp down with my legs to hold myself down, my trainer told me to sit deep on my pockets, and relax my legs even if I bounce more. Cupid didn't seem bothered by my bouncing, he was being great!