July 8, 2016

Lesson Wrap-Up: Real Progress

First lesson in two weeks last night.

"I had an AWESOME ride on Tuesday."


"And I don't know why."

"I hate it when you say that."

"Well, if you'd like me to make up a reason, it's probably my right leg.  The position change from our last lesson seems to be making a big difference.  He just came out feeling amazing instead of struggling for a while and then getting good work like normal."

"Ok, we'll go with that.  You really do look completely different after making that change, your posting and sitting are totally different - in a good way."

Someone asked me again yesterday why I drive 45 minutes to this barn when there are barns in my county.  I mean, I feel like...you'd understand if you saw it.  Outdoor expansion almost totally done!

Things are definitely headed in a good direction lately.  He basically comes out ready to rock and roll, which has never happened before, ever.  I've made a couple of changes to our warmup - more time on a loose rein at the walk, and introducing the canter earlier in the warmup - and he has responded well.  My trainer complimented the way he was going in the warmup last night, and that never happens.

We spent a lot of time doing walk-trot transitions in shoulder-in last night, trying to keep him from falling onto the right shoulder in the transition to the right.  To the left, it was still the right shoulder.

He likes to rush through anything that requires him to get off the right shoulder and onto the left hind.  When we moved to walk pirouettes to canter later in the lesson, he was barreling through them in an attempt to evade putting weight on the inside hind, and he was starting to get fussy in the contact, like he does when I ratchet up the intensity on him.

Also, slobbers.  He's been drylotted for each of the past two or three summers and is back on pasture for half days right now.  I almost forgot what he's like when slobber comes pouring out of his mouth every few minutes.

We kept at it, giving him frequent longer canters and trots to keep him from losing it.  When he's on that edge of "totally got this!" and "almost too much for me to handle, guys," it's easy to overface him, because the work is so good and I get greedy for that feeling.  It's glorious.  But I have to change the game for thirty seconds or so every so often so he doesn't feel overwhelmed.

But oh man, when he's in that sweet spot of intensity, being on my aids, focusing and almost at the brink of what he thinks he can handle...I wish I had pictures.  Amazing!


  1. That sounds SO FUN. I'm excited for you both!

  2. So exciting! We recently tackled the walk pirouette to canter as well...tricky but so rewarding when it goes right!

  3. That farm is beautiful! I'm glad that things are going so well.

  4. i get greedy for that feeling too. it's so good tho!

  5. Yay! Glad it's going so well!
    I am familiar with the slobber pattern in the crossties. :0)

  6. Your barn looks gorgeous. It's totally worth it.

  7. So I feel a bit stupid now- I've been noticing Riley drooling a ton in the last few days and couldn't figure it out.. but now that you mention it he just got moved to a new paddock with lots of grass. Mystery solved!