Last Saturday (the day after my birthday) N let me ride Vanya again in my lesson, as something of a birthday present. At the end of the lesson she let me hop him over a few jumps, which was awesome and fun.
Yesterday, I got to the barn an hour early in order to have a private lesson (another bday gift, this one from Tom) before my regular group lesson. I'd requested a gallop-and-jump-in-the-woods lesson, and N was happy to oblige. She was on Vanya, and I rode Leroy, who was really the perfect choice for such an excursion. Chaka would have also been fun, but he's still coming back from an injury and he's also kind of a spaz in the woods. Leroy, on the other hand, is pretty sane and steady, and he's a lot of fun to jump. We found 4 or 5 logs to hop over (most of them at least twice) and had a few super awesome gallops along the straight stretches. Vanya's an ex-racehorse, and Leroy is some kind of mixed breed gaited something-or-other, but that didn't stop him from trying as hard as he could to keep up with Mr. Speed Demon. There are few things more exhilarating than an all out, balls to the wall gallop. The horses seem to agree.
In the group lesson immediately thereafter, I was riding Sunny. To my surprise and delight, we were having a jumping lesson! Well, it was an exercise meant to demonstrate that jumps are really nothing more than elevated canter strides. So we started out cantering over 3 poles, and then the first pole became a small cross-rail, and then the last pole became another cross-rail. N almost never has our class do any jumping, so it was pretty exciting for all of us. Sunny's another fun one to jump; he seems to enjoy it way more than dressage. N put the fences up to verticals when it was my turn (not huge...maaaybe 2'3").
It was just an outstanding morning overall. It was nice to get the old jumping and galloping itch scratched a bit. ;)