Today was the day I've had mixed feelings about for the past week or so... the first lesson of the 2016 season.
Ironically this lesson was actually supposed to happen last week however my husband had to have an emergency surgery to remove his Appendix and things got put on hold. No biggie, my local coach is super flexible - we rescheduled for today, April 20th. I've been having pretty great rides at home despite the ridiculous winds we've been battling lately, so I was going into it nervous but also feeling excited and proud of the improvements we've made since I last saw this coach in 2015.
Things didn't quite go as anyone expected however I think in the end it turned out even better than anyone expected. As I previously mentioned, I'm very prone to succumbing to negativity and at this point I don't think I would necessarily consider myself 'negative', but rather i'm extremely driven and often don't appreciate the little things.
Kidd is extremely sensitive, not in the sense of pressure but he's very in-tune to his surroundings - including myself. Another coach I often ride with once said "Holy, when you pat or vocally reward this horse, he feels like he just grew a hand!" and it's so true. I, like most riders, get so focused on what I want to achieve either that day or in a certain timeline that I forget to enjoy the little moments that make it all worthwhile.
Often people say we spend too much money on this sport to not enjoy it, and it's so easily overlooked. I'm constantly chasing the dreams and goals I've set for Kidd and myself and as a result get tense from the pressure. My 2 regular coaches regularly comment on "you're too humble" or "just have FUN!" and while it can be a little discouraging because I DO feel like I've made huge improvements in the matter of just enjoying my horse and the time spent with him, but I clearly need to continue working at it if people are still picking up on it.
I had to work until 4 so Coral, who you'll hear a lot about on this Blog, was tasked with prepping the horses and ensuring everything was in the trailer that we needed. We made a deal that I'd haul her horse around for free if she cleaned the soiled shavings out after each use and prep things if required. Now that Kidd is at home, I tack up at my trailer daily so everything's typically in there and ready to go anyway!
Due to construction, Coral being hangry and slow drivers we arrived at my coaches facility in about an hour; 20 minutes slower than typical but regardless, we made it in one piece. Coral rode first since, well, her horse is most broke and is pretty turn-key regardless of the location. Unfortunatly I missed a lot of her ride due to getting Kidd ready and such.
I opted to lunge Kidd around a bit first but due to me spending more energy keeping him moving than it was worth, I got on after a few minutes. He spotted an archery target in the shape of a Deer, antlers and all, he stopped dead in his tracks but quickly got over it and enjoyed oogling over his handsomeness in the mirror.
We had a great warm up and I was quite impressed with him. The footing was a little uneaven that had a bit of effect on his rhythm but regardless he was quiet and quite focused which is always a complete blessing, especially in a new place. We spent most of the lesson working on my energy and how it affected Kidd and I, and we produced some excellent work. He's so talented it makes my heart sing and when I do my part things seem to just fall together so fabulously.
I'm still getting over a cold so I didn't want to over strain myself or my coaches ear from coughing into the headset, but regardless we got some stellar moments. There was a lot of focus on transitions, and more primarily achieving a quiet, correct transition off my seat.
As usual, our left lead was excellent. In our warm up I did some lengthen down the long sides which is relatively new to our recent schooling, and during the lesson we did it on the circle. Kidd showed off his wonderful athleticism - loving that hind leg reach!
We then moved to the dreaded right lead, which is quite simply atrocious at the best of times, mostly due to my own ignorance. Regardless i'm so excited to say we had some wonderful moments including one of the best transitions we've had in as long as I can remember.