We started off on the flat in the field, and getting Ben to bend by way of figure eights. It was so, so buggy this afternoon with the humidity and dampness, and Ben kept tossing his head, unable to focus (next time I'll put a bonnet on him). We decided to move it into the ring next to the field. Once we were in the ring trainer had me extending down the long side, and sitting/collected trot through the corners. This really, really opened Ben up and he felt great. Then we worked on two canter poles, down the quarter line, with two strides in between. I really need to work on getting OUT OF MY TACK, and trusting my horse. Then we started working on a little course: trot in, vertical, land in canter, two strides, cross rail, change direction across the diagonal, with lead change, canter vertical on diagonal, after lead change in center, take it back to a trot, trot a vertical down the other quarter line in opposite direction, land in canter. After we worked on this a few times, the first two jumps changed to vertical, vertical, cross rail, with one canter stride in between. I had to stay in half seat through the whole bounce, and look UP, at the trailer in the distance. I have a horrible habit of looking down at the jumps. Really, I have a horrible habit of looking down all the time. This gymnastic really helped me get out of my tack. I'd get in half seat, grab mane, and let Ben do his thing...and he does his thing well!! One thing I really need to work on is not cutting my corners short. Ben anticipates and knows where we're going, and I let him take the shortest route possible. Our last go through the course was definitely our best yet, and I felt like a total rockstar after our lesson.
I am so happy to be able to lease him for the month and the improvements I've experienced in my riding with my new trainer in 3 lessons has been more improvement than I've experienced in the past few years. Ben is doing wonders for my confidence, riding, and strength. After our lesson we walked all around the property on a loose rein, and then he got a nice bath, and dinner. There is a show at the end of the month on farm that we're planning on doing, at 2'6, which is what we jumped today. I'm psyched. I'll get to ride him 3 times a week throughout my lease, and I'm hoping I can get hubby to come up later in the week to take pictures and videos of us.
After I was done with Ben I moved on to Finn. Finn had already been turned in, had his dinner, and was working on his hay. I bought him SoftRide boots at the start of this whole laminitis episode, and Finn went from unable to walk, to prancing around the second I put them on him. He's worn them 24/7 for the past three weeks, and I can't say enough good about them. They are phenomenal, and unlike any boot I've seen. They're basically like orthopedic shoes for horses. There are these removable gel inserts that fit inside the boots, and for the first three weeks I had special laminitic inserts to help his feet heal. Today I wanted to switch out the inserts to the ones that come with the boots. Finn was 200 times better today than he's been the past week. He is off the Ace, and just his goofy, calm, sweet, self. Barn worker said he was an angel for turnout. THANK GOD! I was able to pick up his hooves no problem, put MagnaPaste on them, and put his boots back on. I didn't even bother with a halter or crossties, I just hung out in his stall with him. Because I've been a bad horse mom and basically ignoring him, I decided to brush him because he was filthy. Then, I looked at the little mohawk growing in on his bridle path and I thought why not, I'll clip his muzzle and bridle path too. Grabbed the clippers, turned them on, and Finn dropped his head to my side while I clipped....WHAT?! He's always been the horse that is somewhat resistant to bridle path clipping, with his head in the air, and I was able to clip him in his stall with no halter, no stool, nothing. It was amazing. I was so excited that I went a little clip happy, and took off about an extra inch of bridle path. He then lifted his head a bit for me to get his muzzle. He had his eyes half closed the whole time. I couldn't believe it. Maybe my horse isn't so crazy after all!
The vet should be rechecking Finn this week, the next step will be back in shoes, normal turnout, and back to work with barn trainer. I'm hoping after a month of her working with Finn, and a month of me working with Ben, we'll both be much more educated and ready for each other.