I had lessons today!!! I LOVE my lessons. The weather was above freezing, but it was raining. But that’s ok, I had lessons!
I have not completely forgotten how to ride, I’ve just lost a few of the finer points…but that is not keeping Inga from taking away my training wheels (I am rather fond of using my saddle pad straps to help me hold my hands still).
I rode Bali first. I like to ride her first because I feel I ride Neuf better when I’ve started on the older, more trained horse, and there is still a niggling worry that Neuf might dump me and I’d get hurt and then not get my lesson on Bali and that would be terrible.
As is my way, Bali needed more bend. There was a lot of moving her shoulders out while riding on a circle to get her more supple by getting her shoulders out of her way, and this one was a mental gymnastic for me this morning, it really felt uncoordinated and I probably should have asked for some aid clarification, but I finally got a picture in my mind and seemed to get a semblance of what was wanted. I did a lot of transitions, working on keeping Bali connected, me not letting her change in the transitions, still figuring out that fine line between restriction, throwing away, and good contact. Particularly in the outside rein.
I need to keep her moving forward, really feeling her hind legs come up and make sure I get a good and prompt response. We did a lot of 8m voltes today to really make sure she was supple and that also helped me figure out the outside rein, in my attempt to not throw away the outside rein, I’m restricting it sometimes.
For canter departs, Inga had me working on them from a volte. To really keep her hind leg stepping up under for the canter depart. I focused on keeping her forward with my outside leg and keeping her bent around my inside leg. Bali felt great and I have some Pentosan to start her on, see if that makes her feel even better. Give her some joint support and see if it helps. She will flex her right hock sometimes and seems to be working out stiffness. I had the vet flex her and we jogged and there is nothing that shows up positive, but she is ten and in regular work (when we are not iced over).
Onto Neuf, Inga asked me “OMG! What happened to Neuf? He is HUGE!”.
Neuf is still reactive to geese over in the field where they were hunting and he had his traumatic day a while back where there was the great escape of 2014. There are always geese flying around, but today he wasn’t too bad. Shockingly, Neuf needs more. A lot more bend…and more forward (do you think there is a rider theme here?). I also need to take a firmer contact with him, particularly when he starts to feel like he might be about to spook or bolt. A lot firmer. He is fine with this contact, dare I say, he might like it? It took a fair amount of time to get him working nicely in the trot, next time I think I should canter earlier because right now, his canter is better and his trot improves immensely after a canter.
I had to start working on sitting Neuf’s trot today. I think there were about five good steps where it was nice. The rest of it, not fit to be seen in public, but I think it could happen more if he is soft through his back.
When he is good, which is almost always, he is fabulous, but when he is difficult (not even bad) I have a hard time because he is so big. I worry he is too big, but so far he is a super horse and I really like him, so I might just end up with the inappropriately too-big horse…because for now, he’s the man.