Today was my first official lesson on Audio! He is an incredible horse and I’m so glad I’m leasing him this month. We worked on just getting to know each other and seeing if I can compete him successfully. He’s definitely much more my ride than Mini, who I previously leased. Nothing wrong with Mini Me. She’s wonderful! I just don’t feel so safe on her because she has a tendency to drag riders. Audio has “no self-propelling motor” as Megan put it, so his brakes are great. He’s like a reining horse: take your leg off and he stops.
Most of my flat work was spent learning to apply my leg and keep it on! He’s a good horse who knows his job, but he makes his rider work for it, which I really love. I’m determined to get my leg back. I’m sorry to report that I only did about five minutes of no stirrups work, since our lesson really didn’t focus on it, but rest assured that I’m doing a large amount of no stirrups work for my free ride this week. We discovered that while Mini helped me get back in riding shape, she also taught me to take my leg off frequently. This strategy does not work on Audio because once the leg is removed, he immediately walks. This can be helpful if I’m uncomfortable with my pace, but it’s a struggle at the moment. Even with spurs, our trot was lackluster at best. Where I really struggled was the canter. We broke or came close to breaking in every corner both directions, but I did successfully keep the canter for two laps in each direction, which I consider an accomplishment on Audio. Ha ha. A big portion of our theory discussion was turning and rounding properly. I need to work on moving him with my inside leg first instead of my inside rein. Any horse can follow its nose, but it’s a lot more effective to move his body where I need it. So it’s something to work on: breaking my habit of turning the nose instead of moving the shoulder.
Our warmup fence was an 18″ vertical. I’m still working on seeing a distance more than three strides out, but today’s focus was riding with Audio. He has incredible bascule and is very tidy with his feet. He jumps textbook. Compared to Mini, this is a very different ride. Though I have a tendency to over release, I had to alter my position in the air and on landing to keep from doing dental work in the horse’s mouth. I had to exaggerate my two point a fair bit so that I wouldn’t sit down in the air or too soon on the landing. I also grabbed mane to ensure I didn’t catch him in the mouth. He jumps so nicely, though. He really knows his job.
Next came the trot in one-stride. It was a crossrail to a brick wall on top. I’ve never even jumped this particular brick wall. It has some depth to it, which always looks bigger. I’m not necessarily the most confident rider in the world, so I really looked to Audio for support on this one. He really took care of me. My approach has been better, but there was muck all over the arena. The weather here has been disgusting. I did manage to get one excellent pass on film.
Once we did that fence a couple times, Megan set up a scissor fence! I saw one on Tumblr earlier this week and was dying to try one, so Megan was kind enough to oblige. To help my eye and Audio’s eyes see the distance properly, Megan put a small wall on each side of the jump. It actually rode really nicely, much to my surprise. It’s a challenge I look forward to in the future because it sets up turns so nicely. The scissor fence ended up being the start of my course. I took the scissor fence, left turn to a vertical, and right turn long approach to a gate. Nothing much, and technically not a full course, but great turn work. Audio landed almost all his leads and gave a flawless change. He’s so fun and I’m so lucky to get to ride him.
So in conclusion, I’m dropping my stirrups for my free ride this week. And I will carry a crop in the future.