It was too hot to play in the sandbox, so Barbara suggest Maryann and I have our lesson down in the hunt field. She had just mowed it and there were trees we could ride under. I wasn’t worried about PJ, but Ransom likes to spook (as a result of rider error, but that’s another story), so Maryann was a little apprehensive. She needn’t have worried; both horses were wonderful.
It’s a lot more work for the horses and for us to ride through the grass and up and down the hills. Besides the fact that the horses behave differently than in the ring. PJ was looking around a lot and very difficult to get in front of my leg. Ransom was the opposite; he was nicely forward and concentrating on his job (yes, that’s not the norm for Ransom). Riding in this new(ish) venue magnified all of my issues. PJ’s sluggishness was much more apparent. My lack of a strong seat was more evident. I lost contact more during the exercises, but in the same places I would have lost it in the ring – ie, during turns. But that also helped me to fix those issues because the problems were bigger, they were easier to feel.
Maryann and my big accomplishment was cantering down a hill in the field. Both of us were able to balance our horses and keep them from falling down (literally and figuratively, as in falling on our front end). Maryann actually trusted Ransom to move out and the result was a beautiful canter that she never gets in the ring because she’s always worried about what he will do. For me, cantering in the field helped me to feel his hind legs and what I need to do about them in that gait.
Both horses and riders were sweaty and panting by the time we were done. After taking them for a walk on a loose rein around the perimeter of the field, we brought them back up, hosed them off, and let them nap in their stalls. Getting out of the ring to work was good for the horses, who I’m sure get bored going round and round in circles, and great for Maryann’s and my confidence, which has been upset by past experiences. We’re definitely going to shake things up this summer, even after the indoor is built, and try to ride down in the field on a regular basis.