In other news:
Yesterday was lesson day.
Since the ring was being used before my lesson, I took Kieran out onto the driveway and we walked up and down it for part of our warmup. Also gave me an opportunity to work on him standing for mounting outside (as opposed to in the ring) and at something weird (a plastic chair, since the block was...in the ring). Once the ring cleared out, we went in and did some more warm up, lots of random turns and circles.
Christina had us start the lesson with lots of transitions. First just walk->halt, stand->walk (halting at every other letter). Someone didn't much feel like standing but he got over it. ;) Then some walk->trot transitions (trot 10 strides, walk 10 strides). Also had us do the spiral in->spiral out thing at a trot and had me do two-point trotting around the ring, then sit a while, then two point, then sit a while, then two point, etc.
Also did some cantering, mostly working on transitioning within the canter. So we'd get going, then I'd half halt to slow his canter down along one side of the ring, then use seat and legs to speed him up going down the other side of the ring. I will be honest and admit most of the time I didn't feel a very dramatic difference, but Christina says it was pretty obvious from the ground. I also nearly bought it doing this exercise. Somewhere in there, I lost a stirrup (no big deal, keep going!) and Christina said something like, "you don't need stirrups!" and I was like, "she's right!" so I dropped the other one instead of retrieving the dropped stirrup. This was fine till, going around a turn, I got a bit off balance and started sliding to the outside. Then Kieran went to trotting (bounce bounce bounce bounce trot) and I kept sliding. (it did not help my saddle felt extra slipper yesterday! Plus blue jeans over my full-seats cause it was coooold) Managed to grab mane and stay on but Christina said she was sure at one point that I was going over and it would've been a sloooooow motion fall. ;) Would've been my first fall in a while (knock wood!) but I guess I'm not due yet.
Did some more cantering after that and probably other stuff I'm now drawing a blank on but then went into doing turns on the forehand. Christina dragged out a couple of ground poles so they looked like this:
And had us go up to the corner on the outside (so standing to the left of the vertical pole) with Kieran's shoulder just ahead of the horizontal pole. Then ask for the turn on the forehand so he'd be facing to the right and we'd continue along the new pole.
Going to the right was crap. Part of it, we surmise (after repeating doing turns from both directions) is that he's just stiffer going that way. Part of it seems that when I'd encounter resistance turning him that way, I'd use more of my right hand but I was also using more of my left hand (which I shouldn't have been doing) thus giving more of a "back!" cue than a "turn!" cue. For some reason, this didn't occur so much going to the left as he gave me several nice turns going that direction. We ended this exercise when we got a decent turn to the right.
Then Christina rolled the ball out and had us chase it around, basically, "roll it around the ring one way, then roll it back around the other way" so it had us work on steering. Also, when it would get caught up against the wall, I'd have to maneuver Kieran alongside the wall so we could push it back out. This tended to involve the turn on the forehand (and you could see him going, "oh! this thing has a purpose!").
After that, we just cooled out (but he wasn't very warm by that point since the last part of the lesson had been pretty low-key, physical-work-wise) and I turned him out.
Tonight, the gals at the farm want us all to show up really late so we can watch the lunar eclipse. I'm planning on going (though it's going to totally screw up my sleep...oh well!) and I figure this is a good excuse too to get up to the farm really late and ride Kieran at like..midnight (the "party" doesn't start till 1:30am). He's going to be so confused! :)