I had a lesson on Tuesday. It was my turn to have an off day. I had woken up in a lot of pain and went to the doctor where they took a lot of blood to run another round of tests. All which I’m sure will simply say “there’s still nothing wrong with you”. I think it’s a cortisol level issue, they think it’s nothing but could possibly be arthritis. I guess we’ll see in a day or two. J
This lesson was another milestone for Aria and I because this time I was doing everything. No P to warm Aria up or get her working nice. I was totally excited about this. I’ve seen P work through a lot of Aria’s baby-ness and while some flailing is involved it’s all very contained and controllable. Aria is a thinker, her brain doesn’t shut off and she doesn’t tune her rider out, so mostly she just tries to evade by moving laterally or refusing to bend. R says her tantrums are her princess mode. We’d like her to mature into a queen, so to speak.
She wasn’t worked the day before which meant I was working with a very fresh green bean. I started her off at the walk on the lunge line. She gave a good working walk, really reaching. She was feeling good but she was being calm about it. She stretched her nose to the ground when I asked and sort of flexed to the inside when I asked. This is something I want to work with her on. I’ve seen her working with R and she gives him a much nicer flex that she holds on her own. Then we moved to the trot and she picked a good rhythm and stayed there for a while. She’s not the lightest on the line when she picks up speed and ended up doing a lot of unintentional stretching and flexing because of it. Haha.
I really thought I was going to have an easy ride until I asked her to canter. That’s when she tucked her butt, took off, and did some feel good bucking to kick up her heels. She was over whatever hormones were bothering her over the weekend. I ran her a bit longer than what it took to blow off all that steam and then repeated the whole process going the other direction.
P was busy watering down the arena, so I got on Aria and began flexing her and she tried to eat my boots. Then I did a couple laps around the arena because the far side has a lot of roosters that make a lot of strange noises and rustle around. She felt like she was running on a high octane fuel. I drive a big, fast car and very much like that feel. Especially when I know I have total control over it. After she settled into a good rhythm and we could pass the roosters without her giving them a side eye we got to work.
Our biggest problem right now is we’re both weak going left. Add bad geometry to the equation and you get something in the shape of a sad fried egg. That’s okay, because we spent 90% of the lesson working on making a 20 meter circle. First I tried the technique of looking at the center and bending the horse around that but Aria wanted to evade too much as we approached the centerline from F and used a lack of fence as an excuse to blow through my cue and bulge out (even with outside leg!). We decided to break the circle down for her. We focused on going from A to F, then F to center line, then center line to K, then K to A. It took patience but we did end up getting a pretty nice circle after 20 minutes. I do think part of the problem is I don’t always support her and I don’t always ask her to step into that outside rein. It’s something we both need to work on.
I have noticed lately that I’m second guessing myself a lot. Even P mentioned it yesterday. My overall riding has improved a lot but my commitment to the cues is sometimes not there. And honestly, when I give Aria a cue and she doesn’t do what I ask or she does something completely different from what I’ve asked, even though I’ve just seen her do it with P or R, it makes me doubt if I’m giving the cue correctly. I know I’m not as finessed as my trainers and they have a lot more time spent on Aria but I still asked P about it. She told me I just needed patience and that my cues are fine. Phew, right? Haha. Easier said than done! She did mention I need to work on my lower legs. Now that I sit up my lower leg has shifted forward a bit. P would like to see my leg back at the girth instead of a bit in front where it has migrated to. I’ll be spending a lot of time standing in my stirrups to get proper leg placement again.
Amazing how you fix one thing and break another!