I had three lessons this week. It's getting hard to keep them all straight, and I neglected to take notes Tuesday after two of the lessons. I don't know if I mentioned that I'm hauling over to my trainer's barn for lessons twice a week for one lesson on each horse. Yeah, I'm crazy.
Anyway, I'm going to try and get some things written down so I will remember what I'm supposed to be working on. Nationals is less than a month away (!!!) so I must make progress!
Skyy's lesson on Tuesday was a good one. He was great for me - very focused and had his learning pants on. We worked on refining his contact. Sometimes he bears down on the bit too hard, which is the opposite of what he used to do which was not establish a steady contact at all. For the solution my trainer had me ride him with my hands slightly higher in combination with a strong half halt when he bears down. Then she had me release the pressure and send him forward. We also worked on better canter departs and getting a nicer more swinging back at the walk. I practiced those things tonight and I think I'm making some headway.
Albert also had a lesson on Tuesday, and he needs to be straighter behind, so we worked on an exercise where we do shoulder-in from the corner to E or B, then turn across the arena and as soon as possible establish the opposite shoulder in. When we reach the wall we do the other shoulder in to the corner. It's hard because on the way across the arena Albert is almost going sideways, but my trainer said that this is helping get his inside hind leg to work in the right place. We also concentrated on consistent cadence and rhythm in the canter, as well as working on the medium trot. After the last show he kind of shut down on me when I'd ask for the medium trot, and would just trot really fast with a tense back instead of pushing. I think it's because he had so much room at the show and then when we got back home to the small arena he didn't like the confinement. Luckily my trainers arena is large sized so we were able to get some nice pushing strides. I worked on these things tonight and I think they are coming along nicely.
Kaswyn had a lesson tonight, and he's feeling okay. He is certainly more sound but he does have moments of unevenness. I had been trying to get Kaswyn to be more reactive to my leg so that I wouldn't have to keep my leg on him so strongly all the time. So when he would shut down I would put my leg on, and if I'd get no response I'd tap with the whip. My trainer didn't want me to do that. Instead she had me drive him forward with big leg thumps. When he ran forward, which we both knew he would do, she had me contain the energy and instead of letting him bolt forward I directed the energy up and out through his shoulders. This worked both at the trot and canter. We also worked large schooling canter half-passes and schooling trot leg yields.
So I'm sure most of you are thinking "Why do you think we want to read about this?". Well, maybe someone will find some of this helpful. Mostly I'm doing it because it's helpful to me. Like I said above I'm having a hard time keeping everything straight with so many lessons, and writing it down really helps me remember what the plan is. Also once it's written I can come back later and look it up.
Well there you go. I'm exhausted and I'm heading to bed. Have I mentioned how awesome my husband Craig is? He's the best. :)