Thoughts offered from one of our very own Austin Eventer’s perspective. Thank you to Brandy S. for taking the time to submit this post!
Oh, yeah, I’m sore. Lisa must have asked me five times yesterday, “How do your legs feel?” I kept saying, “Oh, I’m good,” and thinking to myself, “Why on Earth does she keep asking me that?” Well, now I know. My legs are a little sore, but man, my shoulders and arms are useless! It hurts even to type this!
So, you must be wondering why I’m regaling you with woeful laments of my muscular meltdown. “Who the heck are you,” you’re surely wondering. Right? Aren’t you even curious? No? Well, too bad, I’ll tell you anyway: I’m Brandy, one of the newer members of Austin Eventing and probably one of the more novice riders, too. How’s that for a winning combination? Well, I’ll make it even more interesting: my regular mount, Autobahn, is a 16.3 green bean with a stiff neck and a real independent streak. I hope to bring you along on our training journey in other posts, but for now I’d like to (rider) recap my first jump lesson with Lisa.
My entourage and I made our first visit to Bit by Bit Farm for a jump lesson yesterday. It was the first time meeting Mickey, the spotted schoolmaster, and his proud partner, Heather, too. No pressure, right? Ha! More like pressure cooker, especially with the temperature easily reaching the triple digits in that arena and a rail full of spectators. Mickey, though, was entirely unimpressed. In fact, the geezer (he’s 27) dozed in the crossties during his pre-lesson grooming and tack-up. Everyone with me was skeptical that he’d perk up under saddle. But Lisa had warned me that Mickey’s got the get-up-and-go, and that I’d have to work double-time to keep him from charging flat-out to the fences! She was not joking; Mickey made me ride every stride, really challenging me to sit up, maintain contact, and keep him together. And, the little bugger jumped the lines so big and with so much impulsion that I felt like I was jumping 3.6!
Lisa had us ride two very straightforward, five-stride lines in order for me to focus on keeping Mickey together on the approach and within the line. I also worked on waiting for the fences, sitting on the approach, and allowing the takeoff to push me out of the saddle. This hasn’t yet become second nature to me, a former jumper accustomed to two-point canters and exaggerated crest releases. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my first effort. (Especially on that fence I took backwards! Twice.) Lisa said we did pretty well, and I’m proud that me and Mickey hit it off! If my noodle arms are any indication, he made me work for every little success and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the spotted schoolmaster (thanks, Heather!). I look forward to packing around the cross-country course with him next weekend. I can’t think of a better way to dive into 3-day eventing. (On second thought, let’s not have any dives!)