Last night’s lesson may have been in the rain but it is amazing how having such a productive lesson made that rain feel downright refreshing! This lesson came on the heels of two really rotten rides so far this week so it felt extra soothing to have some success and to not have to fight.
We started a bit unfocused and during our initial leg yields Louie was kinda just falling laterally or ignoring my leg. I worked on not forgetting my outside leg while using my inside leg which certainly helped to better manage our “falling out” issue but he was still ignoring my leg some, especially the left. Then when we started working in the trot it took one good swat with the whip to snap him out of the lazy, draggy trot he was offering and after that he actually started responding to everything better. On a 15m circle in each quarter of the arena we alternated between shoulder-in and haunches-in around the circle and at some points I was able to bring Louie together enough that he would come straighter and round in his body when I would merely think about switching which hind leg I was focusing on. It wasn’t easy, as my adductors can attest, sometimes it felt like the second I got the sensation that he was straight, he would fall out on the circle or over bend. But as my instructor said, the lesson was really productive because I was feeling and reacting. Feel is such a tough thing to develop but these lessons are very obviously helping. I like knowing that I my reactions are getting quicker and more precise. Things you don’t do well when you are first learning are becoming easier- I can better feel if the horse drops behind my leg and I respond quicker, and now when the horse gives, I give, much quicker and to a more appropriate degree (I’m a recovering contact throw-away-er). It is wonderful to learn these things on a horse like Louie since I wouldn’t exactly call him a schoolmaster per se but he is extremely forgiving and quite capable. It allows me the freedom to really think things through, plus providing super clear positive feedback when I am starting to “get” it.
I am going to ride Sunny later tonight, here’s hoping we have a better ride than the previous two attempts!