Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day Two - afternoon session

After lunch, worked Chewie. Side reins 5 & 6. "3" was number for the day. Free lunge to start up, and canter work with & without side reins. I figure if he doesn't canter in a lesson, he might as well at least keep it up on the line. Rode a little. What a babysitter. I did a little of the new I've learned (lining up all three balls, intentionally turning in my mind rather than just with reins & legs), and he did well. Asked for a little trot, and he shuffled like an angel, almost like he was thinking about taking care of me, and not trotting any more than he had to. I think it was a fear thing - he was scared what would happen if he moved out, and I was worried he'd take off without me. Instructor noted that, while he wasn't very full-stride, he was picking his feet up, and moving lightly. She said "It looked really good, and you're applying some of what you've learned." Hmm.. that's good.

Groundwork focused on hips & legs. It was an opening feeling to find the hip joints, and use them like I'm supposed to. Also felt good to hold the leg up under my thigh and shake the joints all loose.

Horse dujour - Iris. It was incredible to see her float over the ground with the Instructor riding her, but even more incredible to ride. I had been warned that "if I asked for something a centimeter off, she would be slow & difficult. wouldn't buck or rear, but would just become lazy & beligerent." Hmm.. didn't have any problems of the sort. In fact, as soon as she stepped out to walk, I was amazed. It was HUGE! Chewie only has a walk like that if I force the issue, pushing with all of my leg muscles. Absolutely amazing. I praised her lavishly for her great behavior, and she rewarded me with more of the same. Instructor said a few times during the lesson, "I got on her with a plan, and I'm not changing my mind. I'm telling her she has to do what I want without being mean, and she knows I like her." Well, she ought to. I gave her enough wither scratches & nuzzles, it should have been obvious I thought highly of her. Awesome.

Went into light seat to ask for the trot. It might be easier in my own saddle on my own horse, but overall, it felt like I was sitting on the front of my crotch & squeezing & contracting tummy muscles. "Light seat" from Instructor - Head, Chest, Belly, Pulse, fold over at my center, eyes up & soft, and deliberately thinking "trot, trot, trot". Again, I haven't the foggiest idea if it will work on my horse or not, but it worked with Iris.

Worked on transitions from light seat, to sitting, to posting. My sitting trot wasn't fantastic, but it felt more secure. =) Secure.. Huh... It sounds funny in my head, but it's true. At one point, I lost my right stirrup, the left stirrup was floating all over the place, and I was still doing the transitions. Light seat, back upright sitting, posting, repeat. I could hear Susan from SC in the background hollering "You'll thank me for these lessons the first time you lose your stirrups and you have to concentrate on staying on the horse." She was right. Thank you Susan!!!

Dinner last night at Fish Daddy's near Pflugerville. Mahi Mahi with lemon herb butter, baked potato, steamed broccoli. Very good dinner. Probably the best meal so far of the trip.

Plan for today is a lesson on ground, riding lesson on Iris, and then Chewie independant. I'm thinking about asking Instructor if I can have a lesson on Iris, then a final "will this work or not" ride on Chewie. Will cost more, yes, but I'm willing to fund that adventure. Applying the lessons to a horse that's trained to respond is good, but I'm curious if it will work on my horse that hasn't a clue what's going on.

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