Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday night was AWESOME!

So I went into my regular lesson on Wednesday night after talking with Christina about how the lesson went on Tuesday and what my impressions were and what we did. She also viewed the videos and such.

Started the lesson with warming up and she had me do a couple of exercises out of this Yoga for Riders book (I don't think that's the title but I don't remember specifically what it was called) she just got. At one point I said, "good thing he's not spooky, because if he did take off, I'd have NOTHING holding me on". I had my hands up over my head and both legs pulled up a little and out at the knee.

I discovered doing that very exercise there's a catch in my right side that doesn't seem to be in my left as it was much easier to do on the left than the right.

After that, we worked on cantering. (and yes, I was carrying the dressage whip tonight. Didn't have to use it, it's mere presence helped) My thing with the corners and waiting till he had a "nice" trot to ask Christina pointed out was because when we first started working on this with him, we kind of had to do that, he wasn't balanced enough otherwise to manage but now he seems like he CAN do the canter from anywhere in the ring, so long as I'm ready to ask for it. So she had me trot him around and whenever I thought it felt good, to sit and ask and do it like we did on Tuesday, keep after him until I get it (and keep after him to ensure he stayed in gait).

It was SO much easier to get the canter and stay in it, not perfect, but definitely easier. We started going his "good" way and the first time, he broke gait. The second time I asked him was really nice and Christina told me to make him stop. She said, after I had him stopped, it was so nice she wished she hadn't, but she wanted me to make him slow down without him deciding he wanted to. Then we worked at getting it back. We actually managed to canter more than one whole way around the ring and it felt like he would have kept going with very little effort on my part.

Going the other direction was harder but not hard. It's obvious that it's more difficult for him that way and when we finally got something going, he kind of slipped and that ruined our momentum. Still, we got a good canter going both directions and after that I was like, "I kind of just want to end the lesson here, he did SO well." We didn't end it, but we did back off cantering and do some trotting with the idea that I'd use my leg to push him over to the wall and deep into corners instead of using my outside rein to pull him over (thus having him counterbent). I had a pretty hard time with that so we slowed it down and did it at the walk. Next time I ride him, we'll likely revisit it at a walk and then at the trot. Christina said actually for something like that, pushing him with my inside leg, it's okay to keep a steady pressure instead of bumping him and once I did that it was easier.

She also pointed out that it seems every time she's seen me cantering him, he's been picking up the correct lead, so that's a good thing! :)

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