Thursday, September 8, 2011


Had my lesson tonight, we were already warmed up by the time she got there so Jessica had us start with showing her some walking circles since I said I'd worked on them since last lesson. They still weren't pretty (and one day I will get someone to video!), but they did at least feel better than last week. Mostly because Kieran just felt a bit more forward so it wasn't like he was just dragging himself around. Jessica said it looked like he was using his back end properly one stride in three ( for improvement, hah)

Once we'd done a bunch of circles in both directions, she had us do the same thing but at a trot (remembering to keep a steady rhythm). The rhythm part was actually much easier this week. Kieran was definitely "with it".

Then we added a new element. We had three barrels set up in a big triangle. So Jessica had us start trotting around them (so, not on the rail, but not inside the "barrel territory") and when we rounded a particular barrel (still remembering the circles! even though this was technically just part of a circle) I was to start pushing him forward with my seat and legs on every down beat of my post...not to get him to go faster, but to get him to move into a more extended trot. Took a couple of repetitions and then she was like, "YES THAT!" and I was like, "what? He didn't move any faster?" but it was bigger which was the point and when we did it again, I felt that.

So, by that point, he was starting to think about anticipating the barrel we'd ask for him to extend at so she has us go around again, but this time she said when I went around that barrel, to think about half halting with my outside seatbone and outside rein and think "easy easy easy, wait wait wait" and then on that side of the triangle, ask for a smaller trot, almost a jog.

The first time, he thought "eeeasy" meant "brakes!". The thing he's good at is stopping...and he's actually pretty good about doing it from his hind end instead of falling all over his front end when he stops. But I managed to push him forward before the brakes fully went on so suddenly he was pushing off from his hind end and we got a really nice little trot out of him. :)

Then we had to do it all going the other direction. (and remember those circles when you go around turns!)

We rounded out the lesson with a bit of cantering and here Jessica said if we needed, I could go more on the rail instead of just staying around the barrels). But the idea was the same...get a nice forward trot going, then sit and ask for the canter. The first time, we just cantered once around both directions (and no snarky kicking out this time when I asked for a left lead canter!).

Then we went back to the right lead canter and Jessica said, "now when you come around the turn heading toward the gate, I want you to sit back a bit more and push with your seat and legs and get him to really move out". We found another gear! Pretty exhilarating, actually.

Back to the left lead and going that way, I asked him for the extra gear going away from the gate, but still got it! He was fairly tired by that point (so was I!) even with several walk breaks but he still was willing to give it to me.

I did have some issues with my feet sliding through the stirrups while cantering (they'd end up shoved "home" instead of on the balls of my feet) but Jessica said I was keeping my hands where they were supposed to be and my butt was where it was supposed to be and my legs weren't flailing around so she didn't stop me. I just...I guess I tense up or something, but I have a really hard time with my leg sort of drawing upward when we canter and then the stirrup goes wherever the heck it wants.

We also talked about me having to remember keeping my calf on and weight in my heels (in general, not just at the canter) which is something I know, but it's good to be reminded of. I like that she reminds me of the things I need to fix with me, but we're focusing a lot on getting Kieran to use himself better and be fitter. And he definitely seemed more interested this week than last week (whether that's the improved weather or he likes that we're doing something instead of random moseying, I'm not sure, but I'll take it!).

So, good lesson! Kieran got peppermints afterward. :)

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