I had my second lesson with Megan tonight. This one was a private lesson and I rode Case again. The time I've been spending at the gym this past week seemed to pay off while I rode, which was definitely a good thing! I think my legs are still going to be hurting tomorrow though!
This week was a lot more like what I expected last week to be like: my flat work was decent, but when I started jumping I felt like a wet noodle. I warmed up on the flat by myself, and then Megan worked with me on some basic dressage- making different sized circles using leg yields. I surprised myself at how well I did this, not ever having tried it before. I really did it with no problems at all.
After that we moved on to jumping. It took me a few trips to get warmed up and sort of get myself together. Like I said....Wet noodle there are first. I really like Case. He's sort of a funny horse in that he gets bored easily, but will suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, get a burst of brilliance. We went from trotting along, then suddenly walking to the stonewall vertical, hopping over, then dashing to the coop, and me nearly being jumped out of the tack over it. The few lessons I had at Robert Murphy's last winter really helped me improve my seat and my balance, allowing me to stay on good old Case when he decides to go from walk-trot pony to Grand Prix jumper in seven-ish strides. It definitely wasn't all Case, I need to work on getting back in the rhythm of jumping.
When I realized I wasn't going to get jumped out of the tack and could ride through those jumps things did start to shape up. I relaxed, which makes all the difference in the world. I am also getting better at reading Case, so I know when he's Big Brave Eventer mode, rather than I'm-really-bored-because-we're-not-jumping-5 foot-and-so-I'm-going-to-trip-over-this-vertical-if-you-don't-use-a-whole-lot-of-leg mode.
Part of my initial issue was that for some reason it is very awkward for me to jump from the trot, which was what Megan asked for. Jumping from the canter is much more comfortable for me. I've read that this isn't an uncommon problem, but it's still frustrating not to be able to pick up that rhythm so easily from the trot.
Other than issues which stemmed from being out of shape and not having ridden in several months(almost all of them...) I was pretty pleased with the ride. At one point I took a turn a bit wide and went at my fence a bit off center. I knew I was off center, but I didn't really think of it, because I would rather have a clean jump at an odd angle than try to get him centered over the jump just so and throw off our flow. So I just straightened him out and rode right to it. Case jumped it beautifully, my form was great, and Megan was thrilled because I had jumped a much more difficult angle and did it well. To be honest I wasn't really thinking about doing it when it happened; I just did it automatically because it made sense. She was really happy with how I did keeping the horse straight to the jumps, and she was also pleased that I kept riding to the fences and correcting to make the subsequent jumps work, even if the first one in a line wasn't perfect. I was really happy that even though I started out feeling completely "off" that I got myself together pretty quickly.
All in all I think it was a good ride and I really enjoy riding Case. He's such a sweet horse and has a lot of personality. Already looking forward to next week! I really love the challenge of jumping and working out a course (granted, right now they're pretty small courses). I wish I had started jumping a long time ago. Although I do still love riding saddle seat, and definitely intend to show Saddlebreds again at some point, I just seem to get something out of it that I didn't get from riding saddle seat. And it is so much fun!