"I don't like these boots..."
Horse: Jingle (lalalala... :) :)... yipeee..)
Bit: D Ring Snaffle with three piece roller bit.
Time: 1 hour
Ride: My first ever lesson with my boy! Life is so good! Exclamation marks for everyone! Anywaaaaaaaays, to start things off before I even got on my trainer commented what a nice and cute boy Jingle was. (I agree) Obviously Jingle hasn't exactly been "trained" by anyone with expertise (... I've been riding him the last three years, and we haven't done much aside from riding trails, and often running off into trees) so we have a lot to work on. However, the first thing I really wanted to target was his head-shaking. When Jingle feels pressure on his mouth, or decides he doesn't want to do something, he opens his mouth exceptionally wide, and tosses his head and snorts at me, in a, "screw you mom" sort of way. We decided to put him in a noseband, and used "rings" (so, a training fork, or just the rings of a martingale) to curb this problem. Well, it worked, at first he was sticking his tounge out every which way, and just generally unhappy about the predicament he found himself in. But then he settled into it, and the combination worked well - however, he is still tossing his head in defiance, especially at the stop. My trainer commented that I need to be able to feel when he's about to toss, correct it at the perfect time, then release.
We did a lot of posting trot and jogging, and as you guys know, jogging is my fav. Jingle is picking up a jog really well, in the beginning he would break down to the walk quite a bit, and I would have to encourage him verbally which caused him to race off, but now he's keeping a more consistent, slow pace.
Then we worked on his stop, my trainer asked me if Jingle has a stop, wellllllllllll.... he'll stop. Okay, gotta work on that one. I was throwing my weight back more than I should and so my trainer got me to really focus my weight into my stirrups, ask for a "Woah", and then give him a sharp direct "stop" with the reins. He is bad at leaking forward afterward, so I have to watch my release. Then my trainer asked me if he backs, welll..... kinda. Jingle's "back-up" is a bit more of a stall, he will head-toss, snort at me, and just generally not back-up very gracefully. He decided in the lesson that backing up just wasn't happening, and no matter how hard I pulled on my reins he would not back. My trainer commented that he is very good at avoiding and ignoring pressure, especially on his left side, and commented that perhaps tying him back before our lesson Monday, and working him on the ground may soften him up, and get him to respond a bit better to me.
Finally, we loped! He's picking it up. At the ranch this summer I encountered a problem I've encountered quite a bit with trail horses... they won't lope on a curve, only in a straight line. This makes sense, as primarily when trail riding, if you are loping, it is generally in a straight line, in a field, or on a flat, so when you ask them to carry themselves around a corner, they break down into a trot. Asking Jingle to lope in the arena isn't pretty, it requires me to use a lot of strength in my legs, and I realize that my legs are just not that strong when it comes to isolating certain muscle groups. However, he picked it up, and I think we got one or two full laps around the arena from him, and I was really happy with that.
So, all in all, it was a pretty big lesson for his first time, but we pinpointed some really specific things, and afterwards my trainer commented that she thinks he's "going to work out really well." Smiley faces and exclamation marks for everyone!!!! =) Even when I was doing something wrong and my trainer was yelling at me from across the arena, "For heavens sake - stop petting him! He didn't do anything right!" I had such a big goofy smile on my face - I'm riding MY horse, in an arena, in a LESSON. How awesome is that?! He could have probably bucked me off and trampled me, and I bet you I would have still been smiling.
Sidenote - Remember how I rode like, 6 hour days all summer? Ya well... turns out the minute I get in an arena, and have things to actually work on, my body turns to mush. I am one sore puppy, even though it's been two days. My thighs! My poor freakin' thighs.
For Next Time: Stop & Back-Up !!! Work on clearly communicating both of these things to Jingle, and remember to keep constant pressure, and release only when he's given me a backwards step, or a good solid stop. Also, I really need to watch myself while loping, I'm over compensating for him, and it's causing me to put weight into one stirrup, thus causing my saddle to shift - this is something I realize I do, since I had the same issue with Quiz, whose smooth as anything. However, it's something I don't notice until afterwards - gotta work on my body!