Sooo...I had my first jump lesson today, with Karin, the trainer I used in late winter this year... It was, to say the least, interesting.
First off, not sure if I TOTALLY have advertised this, but since July I've had Daisy trimmed with a natural trimmer. I'm LOVING the entire natural trimming process, and Daisy *seemed* and felt, like she was doing really well with it. This week Monday, the trimmer came again, and it turns out Daisy is foundering *very*, very slightly in all 4 feet. She has a small orange tinge on one part of the white-line of her hoof. The trimmer said that since she's on so little grass to begin with, she'd be fine, and just keep an eye on it and if it got worse to take her off grass altogether. He also noticed that she has very slight thrush in her right hooves; it's not advanced, but it's there. As he advised, I'm spraying Daisy's hooves daily now with a mixture of tea tree oil and organic apple cider vineger, which is supposed to help. Sounds like an odd mixture, but (this is a little silly) I have personal experience with organic apple cider vinegar killing off warts, so I think it will work.
Anyway, with all the things I've read about shoeing and farrier's trimming vs. natural trimming, I don't think I could EVER go back to shoeing, lets put that straight. Besides the fact that Daisy nearly killed the farrier multiple times (through excessive rearing during shoeing), shoeing is just wrong. Read up on it, there is a WEALTH of knowledge out there about natural trimming, and it's amazing.
Karin started out the lesson asking me to trot, and change directions at the trot, and asked me why I put galloping boots on Daisy's legs. I said I did because she tends to hit her legs together when I ride, and she responded "So to protect her, right?" and I said yes. Then she asked why I wear half-chaps, and the answer was for protection. So than she asked me why I could go around expecting my horse to work for me while she is in constant pain because she doesn't have shoes on. She wondered how I could possibly put my horse through so much pain when she obviously shouldn't be barefoot and favors her right side.
Those words stung. Bad. I'm a teenager, alright? Not to make excuses, but I'm still young and have experience, but not THAT much, and I try really hard to do the best I can for Daisy. I honestly believed (AND STILL DO) that shoes are WRONG. So Karin berated me for quite a while, which was horrible. Worse than anything, because she's older than me (duh). She has an amazing reputation as being a great riding instructor. She's had years of knowledge. Somehow, I knew that whatever I said, she'd counter, and I wouldn't be able to convince her. It's something that she just wouldn't understand, I know it. So I kept my mouth shut, in a kind of silent disagreement. I didn't agree with anything she said. In all honestly, I felt like crap. It stunk having to listen to her talk, and not figure out HOW to make her understand!
Finally, she seemed to realize I wasn't agreeing with what she said, and she said that in the end it was my choice what I did with my horse, but that I should know that Daisy was in pain and "off" to her right.
We started working for real, which was slightly awkward because I was now very aware of how Daisy's trot would die when we'd turn to change direction at the trot and change when on the right diagonal. She had me work on two-point, which I STINK at because I rarely do it at home as I ride western and rarely english, and just don't do two-point (standing in the stirrups, heels dropped down, leaning almost horizontal over the horse's back and shoulders). We trotted around, and she worked on improving my two-point.
Then she set up this course:
All the cavalettis were at full height. (lines start out magenta, than black, then (although it's hard to tell) maroon.) I would start out the course at a right lead canter, and after the first cavaletti, switch to left lead. I got lost the first two times, as I apparently have a terrible sense of direction...Daisy was, as usual, flat over the jumps in the beginning, but when she got into it and knocked a pole, she started picking up her feet more, and jumping better. At this point, however, Daisy has to go faster to jump better; eventually she was fast cantering, almost galloping, around the ring for the jumps, popping over each one...unfortunately, again no video, just my little diagram... :-/...
I felt pretty dumb jumping...I felt like Daisy was out of control galloping, and though she felt like she was jumping rounded and not flat, her speed was embaressing (I thought). Plus I felt like I was jumping badly. I saw a video of us jumping that Jean took on her phone, however, and we didn't look too bad! In fact...we looked GOOD! Creepy, huh?!
Towards the end, Daisy started to refuse the oxer (two cavalettis side-by-side) and after MUCH smacking with the crop to no avail, Karin got out the lunge whip. That was kinda freaky, because I KNEW she'd hit Daisy, but I wasn't sure how Daisy would react...Daisy shot forward when the whip hit her legs, but she wasn't hard to balance on, and we went over the oxer. Karin had to smack her with the whip 2 more times as she tried to refuse, before we ended with her going over without needing the whip.
Karin still tried to drill the shoe deal into my head again as we finished up...I just sat silent again.
She did give me some pretty cool info on Daisy's past owners, however...Apparently, Daisy used to be really bad at shows because she'd whinny and scream to the mare she was stabled with over the ring fence (I'm assuming her mother)...Ironic, considering other horses mean NOTHING, zip, zero, zilch to Daisy now; they can't motivate her, they don't comfort her, she doesn't feed off them, NOTHING. :P
Sooo, in all, it was worth the money, cool lesson...besides the terrible shoe-talk part. I need to honestly look into Old Mac's G2's...I'm NOT shoeing! NO WAY. Just need to get down and get those boots!
On Monday, I'm riding Daisy in a cross-country jump schooling with Oliver and Phoenix and Karin...Yeah...I'm crazy....we'll see how it goes. I'll try REALLY hard to get some video! :)