|Looking formal for his lesson|
At this point, I'm not interested in hauling him over to the expensive event trainer for a lesson because he just mentally can't handle pressure for a solid hour and I refuse to pay for an hour when I only need twenty minutes. To deal with this, I've been very careful about putting pressure on him (trot fancy with your head down) and then taking it off (free walk on a long rein for a circle).
It seems to be working slowly--last week he could only do about ten fancy trot strides before he just sort of lost it and leaped or flailed a bit. I mean, the horse can trot around all day. I can now get him to trot in balance on the bit while engaged behind, but only for short periods of time.
|The best at taking instructions|
Sounds like a plan. We acted on it by really putting both of us to work--I had to be very consistent about my aids, thus creating a "box" for Courage. When he understood and trusted the consistency, he was quite willing to go into it.
I was pleasantly surprised--we did lots of serpentines and figure eights, which meant changing bend and direction, without taking any breaks, and Courage handled it well.
Then we moved on to cantering. I didn't realize I was riding him a bit tentatively at the canter. Even our instructor who's only seen him a few times was like "Just kick him! He's a good boy and he's not going to do anything."
Oops, haha. We got rolling in a lovely forward canter and did lots of circles and laps around the whole arena. Our instructor had me sit tall and close my eyes so I could focus on the feeling of him moving under me and keep my body more still. I was pretty proud of Courage for the effort. Canter circles were a major stress point for him last year, but he was handling them so well.
Then we went to the right, which is his harder lead. We did a couple of circles, then around the arena, then circling at the other end of the arena.
I was focusing on riding him forward from my leg and we were cruising around and then all of a sudden we were sort of flailing and I was staring at the sand with an alarmingly small amount of horse underneath me.
And then we were just standing at the fence.
Our instructor was like, "Um, ok, let's just try that again."
|Looking so fancy|
It wasn't anything earth shattering, but I felt like it was a great lesson to launch our season. My main take away (aside from the much-needed position help), was just that he's ready for more. Keep it fun, obviously, but it's time to turn up the heat and see where we can go. He's learning fast and handling things that just last fall would have fried his brain.