Okay, here's how today's lesson went
Couldn't ride all week because of my AP exams. Had a lesson today.
Quick note, Joan is my trainer, and Ali is the girl I take lessons with.
Zeus felt VERY good today and once we got warmed up he was quite full of himself. I'm accounting it to the new farrier. His feet look better already and I believe he's moving better, especially at the canter. I was warmed up by the time Joan got there so we jumped right into work. We trotted around the dressage ring to start. Establishing our bend and getting the horses on the bit. Than we moved to the jump part of the field. Took off our stirrups and did some fun (ha ha yeah, right) posting and sitting trot. Sitting one lap, posting the next, sit, post, sit, post, etc. Than we working on the flat in our two point. Joan would call out when to two point and when to post again. Great exercise. Went into a canter from the trot and continued the same thing. Sit, two point, sit, two point, etc. Zeus ROCKED that canter. And it was in his "bad" direction too! Changed directions and did some turns on the forehand. Then did some leg yielding both ways, led with his shoulder the first few times but got some nice ones. Then went into the canter from the walk. Same two point exercise as before. He was a bit more unbalanced and rushy this way. But he didn't get stressed and try to just run like he used to. He kept it together and was only going a bit too fast and on a little bit bigger of a circle than before.
Took a quick walk break and started jumping. Zeus was completely chill and relaxed over the small warm-up crossrails. Trotted over them and he was very very good. Joan made a two foot oxer and a 2'3 vertical for us to do in addition to the usual jumps, and we added those. Once again, he was stellar. I got left behind a bit the first time over the vertical but was on the ball the next time. Did a few courses. Zeus was still right there with me, sane, and very adjustable. He did get pissed when I was left behind the one time, but that's fine, it was my fault. Started out the longer, more technical course great. Popped over the vertical to start, went around to the oxer which we ROCKED. My position felt really secure, I remembered to open my chest and not hollow out my back, folded at the hip and kept my leg right at the girth. Had a pretty sharp turn to a smaller crossrail. Great over that. Landed in the canter as he locked in on the second, bigger, (around 2'6) jump in the line. I felt him start to get really bouncy (almost like a coil tightening up, preparing for liftoff, LOL) so I checked him, half-halted with my body, and brought him back to a trot. He was still looking at the jump like it was much bigger than it was. Thinking back, the minute he started bouncing I should have circled, but regardless. Got to the base of the jump, I was ready. Sitting tall, hands low, heels anchored, chest open. The coil released and he ROCKETED over the jump like it was 3'6, not 2'6. Looking back it was probably a beautiful round jump, ha ha. I stayed with him well and didn't get left behind, but I was pretty surprised and probably wasn't sitting up straight and tall enough on our landing. That's when he got a bit dirty, the minute he had all four on the ground he threw his head down and pulled me right over his left shoulder. Time stopped for a brief moment before I hit the ground. I had time to think, "Really?!" and then I was on the ground. I sat up, laughed, and Zeus sneezed on my head. Instead of taking his victory lap like he did last time, he was standing right behind me snuffing my helmet. I was shaky (adrenaline!), but was laughing it off and got back on. Zeus was quite snorty and sensitive after that. I really don't blame him, he was feeling good and his "yahoo!" put me on the ground because I wasn't on the ball after that jump.
I trotted him around while Ali jumped another course and than played around with the small crossrails. I really wanted to jump the big X that doomed me but Zeus was WAY to hot and I didn't want a repeat performance. Overall I was super happy with the lesson. It was a lot of fun and Zeus and I are really communicating better. Dressage has done wonders for me and for him, and we're becoming a team. I could barely jump or canter him in a gag bit when I first got him and now we're doing courses (mostly trotting though!) in a french link and he couldn't be happier or be feeling better.
I love this horse.