Sunday, December 8, 2019

Lesson again

Cortney and Robin were off in Arizona this weekend so I didn't think I'd have a lesson with Jim. However, he texted me and said if I could be ready at Bridle Trails by 1pm again I could get a group rate since he'd have other people there at 11 and 12. I was down for this plan. I 'earned' my time off by tidying up the backyard. Due to how much travel is involved in me getting to lessons it ends up being a nearly all day affair especially because I end up including general housekeeping chores while I'm out at the barn like tack cleaning.

 It was a fairly temperate winter day with temps in the upper 40s and low 50s F and no rain while riding!

I have a couple big takeaways that I wanted to get written down so I don't forget them and so I can implement at home.

First: That gosh darned inside leg to outside rein is magical when it happens. Use the inside leg to ask for bend and push her into my right hand but DON'T LOSE CONTACT WITH HER MOUTH.  Keeping that coordinated results in a horse that will stretch down into contact.  Make more moments and get them consistently occurring.
 Second: Keep communication with Gwyn always varied, even if it's feather light changes so she keeps her attention on me.

Third: When asking for rein back, Gwyn WILL respond to a feather light touch of my calf and when I use that rather than blaring at her with my heels (and spurs now) I get a very calm, slow rein back with a low head. I just need to keep better contact with her mouth with higher hands than I think I need.
 Fourth: She is getting stronger in canter. We are now actually getting canter strides when I ask her. If I'm practicing, ask for the trot after the first three canter strides. The first three strides are going to be the best quality and everything will degrade (for now) until she's stronger. When cueing for canter in the corner, counter-bend her to the outside to encourage her to pick up the correct lead.
 Conclusions I have drawn on my own:
Continue to work on strengthening her hind end with turns on the forehand. Canter departs will also help. Research other exercises to do. Enjoy trails with LOTS of hills :D
 It was chilly enough and she was damp enough that I tossed a wool cooler on her for the ride home. Then she got to make kissy faces with one of the thoroughbreds while cleaned my tack, some of which was starting to mildew. I need to remember to bring out a new damp-rid for my trailer tack room.

It was a good lesson. I felt like a much more effective rider than I have lately and she was being really responsive to my seat and leg aids, which is DEFINITELY something that we didn't have at the start of summer.

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