First we were off for like a month and a half (seriously, basically all of June and a big chunk of July) through a combination of weather (it rained FOREVER), work (I kept leaving too late to make it worth getting out to the barn and try to ride before it got dark...which is ridiculous when you think that it doesn't get full-dark until like....9pm), and laziness (the couple of days the first two didn't apply I ended up just vegging at home).
Anyway, finally started getting back into routine a couple of weeks ago. We'd both gotten (extra?) out of shape over the time that had passed and we had to start slow. Long walks, short trots, moseying out on the trails, lots of flatwork.
We also had to have a few 'discussions' about who was in charge here when he tried to test boundaries a few times ("but I don't WANT to work, Mom!!!"...well, either that or just excited that we were finally doing something interesting again but either way, he doesn't get to try to kick out and take off when I ask him to canter nicely).
In general, we've just been slightly out of sync, not working together as well as we were a couple months ago. But finally, finally, last night things seemed to come together and we just sort of...flowed together. He was happy and willing to work and forward. I was relaxed and confident enough that even when he tripped on a tussock while cantering, I just gave him his head and got out of his way, he kept going and it was no big deal.
Anyway, last night was the first lesson since we got back where we spent it mostly jumping. The past several have been focusing more on flatwork for fitness and flexibility (going over ground poles, spiral circles, cloverleaf shapes, square turns...).
So Jessica had set up a couple of things. On the left side of the arena was a two stride with a crossrail and a low vertical. In the center of the ring was a low vertical with a placing pole about a stride away. On the right side of the ring were two verticals one stride apart.
So first we trotted into everything and cantered out from each direction, then we started putting things together, over one and around to another, remembering to keep a good rhythm going and half halt at turns, that sort of thing. At the end, we basically did a big "S" shape through all of them (cantering in and out of jumps but trotting around the turns since we still aren't working on lead changes really though he's offered a flying change a couple times).
Jessica laughed at me about the tripping thing I mentioned up above because I always go on about how I'm not as balanced as I should be, etcetc but here was proof I could stay exactly where I need to be on him and not freak out. She pointed out that there was a time if something like that had happened, I would've been "hugging his neck to stay on".
Kieran continues to show us he's thinking about the questions we're asking of him. It's really amazing, really, to see his horsey brain go through the process and figure out how to get through things.
Jessica mentioned my two point last night, particularly through the one stride, was some of the best she's seen out of me so far. I've basically been thinking really hard about pushing my hands forward and "folding" instead of throwing myself up out of the saddle like I'm wont to do.
Sometimes in the past, when we finish a combination, Kieran will try to drop back into a walk because so often we've done one, then stopped to talk about how it went before we went to do it again or move on to something else. Trying to break myself of that habit too and last night he was quite willing to keep cantering after the combos and let me guide him around the ring or over another one before we stopped.
No pictures, alas, as I forgot my camera, but I do wonder if it helped me to relax knowing there wasn't the "all seeing eye" on me, LOL. Though I really do think getting pics/vid of lessons has helped me since I can go through them frame by frame and really watch what we're doing and how we can improve it.
6 days ago