|her inside leg reach for her right canter is improving|
We got back to the ring just as Shanea was coming up the path. It was hilarious: both horses saw her coming but had very different reactions:
Carmen: oh crap. It's a lesson. I suspected this was a trap!
Irish: a lesson?! Yay! I love lessons. Let me show you how much I have taught Julia and where you need to fix her.
|he's so pleased with himself|
To be honest, this format really worked great. Shanea would focus on one of us for a bit, then we'd go practice on our own while she worked with the other. All in all we rode for about 90 minutes (don't let Carmen fool you, there were many breaks).
First of all, Shanea was pleased with our straightness. I love when my homework shows up. She was a bit worried about parts of the ring but was doing her best to be attentive.
It's really really hard for me to not hang on the inside rein. I suspect that's because it's always been hard but also, in the past, when Carmen looked to the outside she'd pop her inside shoulder in and the do her spook, spin, bolt maneuver. Keeping her flexed to the inside helped with that but now it was a hindrance. Carmen also learned to lean on the inside rein rather than soften to it.
|here you can see how she's dumping on the rein and I'm holding on to it|
so we did a lot of work on inside leg to outside rein and not let her get her body all crooked or let her disconnect her front and back. Carmen tightens and then her hind legs trail out behind and it's hard to keep her supple. The answer, apparently, is not to haul on the front end until it meets the back end but to encourage her to step from behind into contact. I mean, who knew? *shrug*
Irish: I knew! You should've asked me!
Despite my flaws, I can see the progress I am making in my seat and hands. And getting her to reach for the rein. She was definitely less chompy in this lesson (although it was there on occasion) and there was no getting the tongue over the bit.
|a rare sighting of me not hanging on the inside rein|
In our canter work Shanea had me canter up the quarter line and leg yield to the rail. It was hard and at first both Carmen and I were convinced that this was an impossible ask (she also thought it was ridiculous and potentially dangerous).
Carmen: it was dangerous. Did you not see the monsters in the trees?
Me: you mean the goldfinches? *rolls eyes*
Carmen: well you don't know, they could be armed.
I did feel though how it opened up her stride but it was stiff and she was hard on the rein. Then Shanea had me walk to a canter (with a little circle if became too strong and unbalanced), then go forward then soften my body when I asked her to go over and it was *boom* right there and easy.
Which is where we ended it.
The next day Julia and I rode early. Carmen felt a bit on edge but she still lead the whole way, mostly on a loose rein. In the ring we played a bit with the transitions and straightness. We had some of the best right lead canter departs ever. After two nice transitions that were uphill and soft we stopped.
The next day I rode alone (we didn't hack) and as we went along she became more fractious and spooky. I know she was missing Irish in the ring (although he was right there in the next paddock having a snooze). I just kept riding. Once she did a little jump and tried to run off. I just sat up and breathed while going with her. We cantered a few circles and I laughed and said well yesterday we did more right lead canter so you're right, we should work on the left. It was a good ride in that I realized that my seat was solid and my confidence strong. So I could work through it without getting upset.
I rode again the next day and she was so much better. Still a little worried but this time ready to listen rather than ignore me while she saved herself from the dang goldfinches (Carmen: I am telling you that they are not to be trusted. Don't even get me started on rabbits). when she's like this I make it very clear when things are good by giving her a full break (stop, loose rein) and keep her working when she's spooking because I've done enough reinforcing of that behaviour in the past.
All in all it was a good week of riding. She did get two days off so, don't listen to her sad stories!
|Carmen: send help she's killing me|