Our work has focused on getting and keeping our horse's attention. Our instructor reminds us that we are the ones to tell the horses when and where to move, and how fast. Yup, I've heard it before, but some things I have to hear...over and over and over! (Especially as I get older...what, exactly, happens to our brains?!) And sometimes, I need to 'see' the theoretical in a practical application. For example, at the beginning of one class I was asking Pippin to stand so I could listen to the instructor. He wasn't interested in standing. The instructor turned to me (and I was prepared for her to snarl something about making my horse stand still) and said, "It's OK if he doesn't stand, but you have to make it your choice, not his. Go ahead and make him walk in circles. Make him back. Make him move. Faster. You can still listen to what I am saying."
We have been working on having our horses yield to our legs. You know, turns on the forehand, turns on the haunches, side pass, etc. Nothing new. I've been doing those since Pony Club days. But, for the first time in my life I have had an instructor who has focused more on my seat bones and weight distribution than on my legs. (OMG - that poor instructor has had to stare at my ample a....!)
It's taken a lot of unlearning and relearning. I've picked up some bad habits over the years and our instructor has an eagle eye - she'll catch me in a skinny minute! I found out that I 'break' my wrists and my weight needs to be rolled back. I need to 'suck my belly button into my backbone.' She is a saint. She reminds me, frequently, about my posture!
So, Pippin has been performing the required moves. He has been walking calmly, with his head down. He has been trotting - peacefully! He no longer scoots forward. He doesn't break into a fast-paced, short stepped, panic-induced trot. He has even begun to bring his head down, and we are working on breaking at the poll. He is much quieter with the bit. A lot of what I've been getting from Pippin, I realize, is due to his lovely shade of 'very green'. The lessons have given both of us some gains in confidence. I think this is another critical piece of the puzzle. I was unsure of him, and certainly he was unsure of me and the whole saddle, person-on-the-back thing.
I have seen improvement with Doc as well, even though he hasn't
So, I am falling in love, all over again! (Think Joni Mitchell music...'Help me, I think I'm falling in love again...')