Focus

Whew.  It's been a while since Distracted Pony has made an appearance, but that was certainly the case today.  R, owner of the only stallion on the property (and a very nice one at that), was riding at the same time I was today, (There was more than one person at my barn at a time on a non-lesson day, amazing, right?) so I took the indoor, and the big doors were open at both ends to let the breeze in.  I've never ridden Connor in there with both sets of doors open, and it was an open invitation for him to be very looky and distracted.

Post-ride today.  Looking gooooooooooooood.
Because he was so distracted and I haven't talked to my trainer since his last two trainer rides, I kept it simple and non-stressful with lots of walking exercises at the non-scary part of the arena.  I purposely tap-tapped him with the stick when he needed it, and although he did shoot forward every time, it was really amazing how much that extra impulsion lightened him in the bridle and got him on the bit rather than behind it.

One thing I really focused on was keeping him between my aids during turns/circles.  When we started getting all that ostrich trot again in April, I focused heavily on the outside rein to remedy that.  Now that I've done that and been riding with so much outside rein, I've forgotten all about the inside aids during turns, which leads to him turning like a 2x4.  Since he's so sensitive to my aids, it's not hard to fix, but it does require that I ride astutely and with a lot of body awareness (both my body and his body).  Just like my former perching-forward habit that has now turned into a leaning-back habit, I feel like learning to ride properly has been a series of focusing on one thing, over-emphasizing it, and then dialing it back.

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