Thursday, December 13, 2012
3 lessons in less than 6 months??
I have set some sort of world record here! 3 lessons in less than 6 months, woo hoo!! I rode with Paul again today and it was a GREAT day. I had a private lesson, which was awesome. I showed up a little frazzled; left Joyce's at 10:30, but didn't arrive at MSF until 12, which is when I was supposed to be ON! At least he's always groomed and ready to go when I arrive. I yanked him off the trailer, tied him to the side, dressed myself (of course, I had a hairnet malfunction), threw the tack on, and made my way QUICKLY up to the ring.
Thankfully, he was finishing up the group lesson before me, so I was able to hop on and breathe for a second. Warmed him up on a loose rein, then as Paul came in I began some contact work. He was moving all the jumps around and setting up exercises, so I tried to just work on being straight and on the aids. He felt like crap! In a never ending quest to fiddle around, I put on the xc bridle today with the waterford bit. I think by now he equates that bit with XC!!! So he was really all over the place and super fussy with his head and mouth. I was NOT pleased with my little red head!
I warmed up for around 30 minutes while Paul got things set up, and finally he was ready for us! First things first, we went on a 20 m circle like last time, but I had to go from a medium working trot/one or two steps of walk then RIGHT back to the working trot. That was pretty tough and was an engraved invitation for me to throw him away in the contact (but I didn't!). We then changed that to a working posting trot down to a sitting collected trot, and THEN it was canter/walk 1 or 2 steps ... that was ANOTHER invitation for me to make a mess of things but I did better than Paul thought I would lol. I was pleased with both of us, we did good:)
He set up a pole exercise, a short one to a long one, 5 strides in between. It was of COURSE off the right lead on the diagonal, therefore exposing that left bulge. We cantered the long one first and of course I ran him at it and let him come in bulged. We did just that one probably 5 or 6 times, just working on me straightening him with my left rein and slowing down everything! When Paul was satisfied with our hunter-esque one stride, we moved to the short one which was very good. The turn was much shorter so I worked on maintaining the rhythm through it; only had to do that one twice;)
Finally, we put them together. Common sense said to do the short to the long; He was a little long in the 5 strides because I sat like a lump after the short, then chased him at the end. Sigh. Will I EVER learn?? Came a few more times until I SMOOTHLY opened him up RIGHT after the short and stayed steady. He never struggled down the 5, it was always right there ... the long 1 ended up steady for me mostly:) I think I surprised Paul again when I NAILED the long to the short. I added a stride instead of trying to steady at the end; Paul agreed that was Tiki's best option. I came into the long on a nice forward stride, then sat, "WHOA", and put in 6 perfect small strides. I only had to go that direction 3 times, and Paul was happy:)
I feel bad, because he was building up some sort of line with an oxer with planks, and I mentioned I never do many lines, lots of singles and I struggle with his adjustability ... Oh Lord! He stopped dead what he was doing, tore it all down, and rebuilt a new exercise:) 3 oxers, on a curve with a ground pole on both sides. My job was to TROT in, canter out, downward to the trot, etc. That was a HARD exercise. Began to the right, and we did ok; he was a little bit all over, though. Again and he was slightly straighter. 3rd time was the charm, we were very straight, prompt in the downward transition, and it flowed smoothly. Paul was pleased! Did it left twice and Paul went through and raised and widened all the oxers to a solid 2'6. He also set a vertical about 2'9 in the canter of the ring and I had to canter that at the end. Paul's corrections were to get him dead straight, be quicker in the downward transition, and HELP him more over the jumps. He said Tiki jumped a little flat and weak; he was making it over them, but no thanks to me! I put on my determined face, closed my leg and added a little cluck in there. Tracking left was a little tough for us, but he finally finished satisfactorily. I missed to the vertical a few times because I'd come out of the corner and get impatient OR I didn't have him straight. I finally sat still, got him dead straight, and we nailed it a few times. Paul let us finish through the oxers tracking right, and it was better.
That was the end. I rode for an HOUR and a HALF:) I feel like we worked harder today than last time, and last time we rode for 2 hours. I enjoyed the challenge, I feel like Paul helped us a bunch, and overall I know I need to focus on straight and smooth. Lots more changes within the gaits, and lots more adding and leaving out strides while keeping him rideable. Love my boy, he was a rock star! Wish I could ride with Paul on a weekly basis, I've REALLY had fun the last 2 times. Oh well, got lottery tickets for tomorrow and Saturday;)