It’s important that Katrina isn’t asked to just do dressage schooling all the time, she’s a clever girl who tries hard so it’s nice to do something different to keep her fresh and just have fun, which is why I have regular jumping lessons. Today I was having my first lesson with a new instructor, Christie Lee Batty who has worked with the Whitakers, which was making me feel quite nervous. I don’t know why but for some reason when I get a new instructor I try too hard to impress them. I took a few deep breaths beforehand though and entered the arena with a smile on my face.
Christie chatted to me to find out about us and what I thought we needed to work on, she suggested we work on straightness and balance. She felt Katrina could really benefit from some exercises, having seen us zig-zag towards a fence. At first we worked in trot looking for a steady rhythm and straightness over poles on the floor, then as the jumps got higher and Katrina was listening, she allowed us to canter to the fence. I also had to stop helping her out, Katrina has to learn to make her own way over the fence and work it out for herself, that was so hard for me!
We realised that on the left rein I collapse to the inside causing Katrina to become unbalanced and sometimes forcing her onto a wrong stride in canter. Christie had me bringing up my shoulder and constantly reminding myself to not collapse, Katrina was a cheeky monkey though, she kept on going on the wrong leg or randomly changing just because she wanted to!
We really enjoyed ourselves, my grin was so wide, and I thought it might crack my face. I didn't bother asking for an outline or worry about her frame, it was just fun for us. I love dressage but I sometimes miss the feeling of flying over jumps, the feeling as the horses muscles bunch up underneath you as the horse tenses to spring, and the adrenaline of just clearing a difficult or big fence with ease. I was so proud of Katrina, she's come on so much, she didn't stop once and she was flying over a 1 meter jump. A meter might not be that big to some, but for us it's real progress as she was very sticky about jumping to begin with. I finished my lesson buzzing!