Yesterday was Lesson Saturday. It was about 40 F when I headed out the barn but I still dressed in layers under my new G.R.A.S.S full seat breeches. I walked into the barn where Jodi was already tacking Bonnie with my hands full of my purchases this past week. Including a new 50" Wintec Cair girth which was 75% off.
Jodi rode Bonnie first because she wanted to start schooling over jumps. I couldn't get a picture of her jumping because I only had my iPhone with me. However I did get a decent picture of her at a working trot.
Next was my turn. Bonnie is still very much "hot" and easily excitable but she is no longer trying to kill us like she did the first week at this new barn. She only had one complete melt down when someone opened the arena door without announcing.
We worked on changing directions at working trot using the "tear drop" turn off my seat and still keeping the soft bend. On the rail we had ground poles to ensure I was staying balanced and we practiced leg yields from center of arena to rail. With Bonnie I have to remember to stay soft and my hands MUST remain quiet or her nose goes straight up and she jack hammers on the front.
Then it was my turn on Rosie. She's a completely different ride then Bonnie. With Bonnie go means go until I say stop. Rosie on the other hand is a ride every step type of horse. She started out reminding me that I truly have very little control. Jodi reminded me that to get control I have to engage her. So warm up was transitions, every-time she tossed her head, pulled me out of the saddle or rushed we did something different like change gait or direction.
When she settled down I thought about everything I saw wrong in the video from last week and how to fix it. First - clamp elbows to my ribs, push the shoulders down and back. As soon as I got my seat bones under me and relaxed and pushing only with my calves I got my reward. A 2000 pound heavy draft was as light as a feather in my hands !!! Jodi was jumping up and down hooting and hollering praise and I had a huge smile on my face. She said my heels were still up too much so I dropped my stirrups and tried it again.
Working trot sitting. Jodi instructed me to let myself relax EVERYTHING except my calfs and bounce with Rosie. One fluid movement. All I can say is as soon as I did that it all came together better than I ever thought.
I worked walk/trot trot/walk transitions (sitting and posting) for about 20 to 30 minutes to get the feel of this and to be able to do it consistently with stirrups.
After that we worked on turning off the seat and keeping the bend. Rosie is one big young horse and this is a new concept so we used visual obstacles and ground poles . She did fairly well for her first time. Tends to run out on the shoulder and no concept of stepping over the rails. She was stepping all over them at first.
At the end of the lessons - Jodi said "You are ready for Novice - find a show!" She's never said that before to me! Well worth the pain I feel today!