The lesson I had last Friday almost makes me want to take back everything I ever said about Dominos Mystic Sondance. Sonny was an absolute angel for my lesson. It was a make-up lesson which means it was a shorter lesson but private–just me and my instructor. I love these lessons. The barn was busy as heck when I came in and I wasn’t assigned a horse yet on the white board. I headed down to the indoor arena where my instructor was giving one of the “littles” a lesson on Oz (the cutie Fjord). She walked over and let me know that I would be riding Sonny for our lesson and then his leaser was going to ride him right after. So I headed to his stall to get him all spiffed up to ride. He was in his usual mood: nibbling tack in the cross ties; refusing to let me pick his feet without a fight; and difficult to bridle. We got through that part and headed to the indoor where, even though it was pretty trafficky, I climbed up and we started warming up.
I noticed immediately that I felt more in control of my own body and thus Sonny. He gave me some guff when I first sent him off at a walk and I just ignored him and pushed through it. From that point on he seemed to understand that he wasn’t going to get away with the crap he usually does with me and I could swear I actually felt his body acquiesce and loosen into his work. My instructor came in after we had warmed up and took my stirrups up a hole for me. She apologized for me having to ride Sonny and I told her it was no problem. She surprised me and told me that while she knew I would be flexible about having to ride him, she secretly dislikes teaching lessons with him because it usually ends up with her having to talk the rider through managing some of Sonny’s bad habits. She wanted me to ride a different horse to experience a new feel but that horse had turned up lame that morning so obviously they were giving her time to recover.
We carefully worked through some transitions, bending on circles, leg yielding, and shoulder in before calling it a day. My instructor remarked that she actually enjoyed teaching my lesson and was really impressed at some of the steps I got Sonny to take during our lateral work. I also picked up a compliment from the other instructor who taught my first few lessons at that barn. She said she hadn’t seen me ride in a while and I looked great on Sonny. I was over the moon! Compliments mean so much when you are starting out, thankfully my instructors are great at giving them! Sometimes I feel like I am just feeling around in the dark here, so hearing that I am improving is helpful feedback. At least I must be doing a few things right.
Thank you to my instructor for fitting me in on a Friday, taking the time to explain things thoroughly, working me through traffic (5 other horses in the arena), being patient with me, positive feedback, constructive criticism, and for letting me feel out new horses!
Thank you to Sonny for giving me a good ride, working through some tough lateral work, and for staying calm in traffic!