With Ransom and Romeo sick, and a sudden change in work-plans, R and I headed out early morning to travel to BRM for a lesson.
Got to the barn, met up with Barbara and Leslie, and found my new saddle! See, in BRM lesson #1, I rode in Barbara's custom-made dressage saddle. I had a fantastic ride, and accomplished a lot more in my ride than I could have imagined. Most of it I attributed to the tack. I had decided to order one, but Barbara found a gently used one of better quality, and after sitting in it, I decided it was coming home with me.
Leslie was scheduled to give me a lesson at 10:30. She surprised me, when she said, "I was going to have you ride my horse today. He's a Fourth Level dressage horse (holy crap!). He's never been lame a day in his life that we've had him. Until last night. He's off, so instead, you're going to ride Bobby. He's over here." Leslie took him out of his stall - a nice solid chunky QH, much like Romeo in frame but a tiny bit taller. We groomed him up, saddled him (in my new one), and headed out to the covered arena.
Bobby was a spoiler babysitter, much like Ransom, with a smaller stride. His owner had decided to stop paying board, and Bobby has become property of BRM. A really neat boy! I got a 30 minute lesson walk, trot, canter, and learned some awesome stuff.
First up, my saddle is insanely comfortable! But, as Leslie explained, I need to get into the habit of not posting so hard, or working so much in my new tack. She said many, many times, "Let the horse move you! Stop working so hard!" Additionally, I was still flexing the bit with my wrists, and not my forearms, and not closing my fingers around the reins. These are old habits, and things I need to get better at.
In the canter, Bobby was awesome! He was nice & cadenced, but also steady-slow. He's normally a hunter-horse, and it was pretty cool to be able to ride him into contact, and get him in a nice posting trot on the bit. Took some effort, along with some flex at the elbow, and inside leg, but he did eventually round up into a really nice trot. After one set of canter-right, Leslie said to me, "His canter is really choppy, but you sat it really well. That looked great!" The BEST compliment I could've gotten from the entire ride. Me, previously terrified of that gait, getting praised for sitting a "choppy" canter! Entirely cool! Bobby was a neat horse, and I hope to get to play with him again sometime.
Meanwhile, just in case you didn't see it, Leslie was going to give me a lesson on a Fourth Level Horse! Her personal ride! Holy crap! I gained confidence just from the offer. I can't imagine riding a horse that skilled, well-trained, or that intelligent! WOW! This is another horse to put on my "to do" list. Definitely!
So, the second lesson sends me home with some of the same homework I've already had, but with some new...
*Let the horse & the saddle do the work. Don't post so hard, ride "lighter"
*Close my fingers around the reins
*Forearms, forearms! Bend at the elbow, and stop wiggling at the wrists!!!