As I mentioned before, Margie is back doing lessons and I was very excited to finally have a lesson again. I hadn’t had one since I sprained my back in September, and hadn’t had one on Bentley since mid summer.
Bentley didn’t disappoint. We got lots of praise through our trots, he was going on the bit, engaging his hind end, and after a bit of work, we had good bend. Of course, anything that wasn’t perfect through the trot was entirely my fault. Big things to correct: Stop dropping the outside rein, particularily on circles; instead I must bring my outside hand forward and out to get that bend correct. Next, I seem to be bringing my right foot forward when trotting, this is making a lovely shoulder in, but of course, that wasnt my intention. I had no clue I was doing this. Tip was to pay more attention to his hind end and keep it away from the boards to remind me to bring it back. Now, stop leaning forward when I post. I have a habit of getting ahead of him because when he gets excited, he lurches forward and I end up back if I am too relaxed. She said once, I have him going nicely, stretch as tall as I could. Well I stretched and stretched but I was still not satisfying her. It was when she told me my nose should be behind the pommel that I realized what she was saying. Instead of stretching up on the same angle, I roll my vertibrae back slowly (ahhh yoga!) so I am directly perpendicular to him… which of course feels like I am leaning back due to my habit, but I will break it. Relax the hips and post lightly. There he stays in contact! Lovely! Now practice that aroud the circle. Ok thats still going to need some work. So all these things I will be practising to improve our trot!
We also did full arena serpentines, and received nothing but praise the whole time! All that work we have been doing has been paying off, hes changing bend so nicely!
Next came the canter, starting on the left lead. A pretty good canter right off the bat, improved by me bending my knees more. What I seemed to be doing to begin was pushing my legs forward into the stirrups, butt back to the cantle, and pinching with my knees. So I practiced bringing my feet back, knees bent, and rolling hips to a forward angle. Better, but I still push back regularily, will need a lot of practice. I wonder if I am bracing mysef because I am am nervous of Speedy Gonzales. By the end we had lovely canters around 20m circles, and acceptable canters around the long side. Change direction, and change horses (or so it felt like). He took off like a bolt of lightning! He didnt get the correct lead when I asked, so I tried to bring him back, but he just turned into “the canternator” of course, he cantered correctly on times I didnt ask and Margie made me allow him this (however I was not pleased with him calling the shots) perhaps she didnt see that I wasnt asking yet. He would dig in and really gallop along the long sides, really only cantering nicely when I made him do circles. Along the short sides, he would motorbike in, and get nowhere near the corner, ignoring all my inside half halts. Margie told me to start asking way before the turn to balance him, and it did work… about half the time. At one point, he did a really bad corner, to which I decided to circle, and while he started the circle nicely, he decided to only listen to me for half the circle, and leaped over the tiny jump instead of continuing the circle. Funny part was, he jumped it so high, my feet cleared the standards (it was about 1′ tall, the standards are at least 4′) Margie and I both had a good laugh (even though I was seriously pissed) and she commented on how nicely he jumped it, but he will have to wait for next week to do an “intentional” jumping lesson. I walked him out a bit, asked for the canter again, and within half a lap of the arena, we had a nice canter again. Perhaps he was just pissy because he had to get all the steam out. I dont think they had turnout that day due to rain and slippery paddocks, would be a good explanation for the explosion.
Called it a night, helped with the evening feed, and was home in time for early bedtime! Despite some excited shenanigans, I was pleased with our lessons.