Time: 1 hr
Ride: I snuck in a lesson last night (Wednesday) and I sure am happy I did. Before I got on my trainer told me that we should try a bit again, and I plucked up a bit of courage (I hate sounding "know-it-all-ey", and I don't want her to think I don't respect her opinions... although i'm sure she knows I do by know) and told her that I didn't think riding in a bit was beneficial, and that I really hated riding Jingle in one. She asked me why and I told her how resistant and frazzled he felt, and that, at anytime, he felt like he was going to fall apart. I then mentioned that if his steering is lacking, and we're having issues with that, i'm totally okay with just doing lots more slow work in my lessons, since i'm doing a lot of slow work on my other riding nights anyway. She agreed that we should stick with the side pull. I guess it makes sense, although she can tell a whole heck of a lot from the ground, i'm the one riding him, so if something feels wrong, or off, it's my responsibility to tell her and for the two of us to talk about it, and figure out solutions and options.
So, my lesson began. Our warmup was pretty calm, Jingle was listening to me, trotting out really nice, checking back when I asked him. At the jog he was speedier than usual, but my trainer asked me to just keep consistent - instead of holding pressure, check hard - then release. When I hold pressure, Jingle get's frazzled, and that is when his demonface behaviours come out. (I don't wanna listen to you! Watch how fast and hard I can toss my head around in defiance!)
During our warm-up I focused on trotting through the poles (steering seemed to be working), trotting over some ground poles, and working on big and small circles throughout the arena. Ponyboy seemed pretty responsive.
Then... dun dun dun... ponyboy was doing so awesome, and had regained his power steering, (Perhaps his power steering pump wasn't working properly - horses are just like cars, right?), so we began to work at the barrel pattern at a trot. My trainer got me to circle the barrels twice for the first little while but didn't want me circling more than that because she didn't want Jingle to figure out this was yet another circle exercise and begin to get sour. He didn't! In the beginning he was bending really good at the nose, but wasn't following through with his hip. I worked on keeping my hand, and reins, up and over the barrel, and added outside leg to kind of get that added "wrap-around" the barrel we were looking for, and he did great! By the end my trainer said he was really wrapping around the barrel. She also mentioned I shouldn't take my barrels so tight at this slow of speed because horses will want to tuck in to the barrel at high speeds anyway, so if they are taught to get that close, right away, and at slow speeds, they'll do the same when going faster, and barrels are more likely to fall over. Overall, I was really impressed with ponyboy - perhaps our career path is low-D barrel racers?!
Then, we loped, my trainer got me to lope circles at both ends of the arena because Jingle is more comfortable in our old circle than he is working in new areas. I also think that perhaps I get comfortable with the dimensions/area of our normal, routine stuff and when new stuff is thrown at me, I get nervous, and it relays back to Jingle. Stop being a weeny Louisa!
He picked up his right lead right away! Awesome! Then, when we moved back to our "old circle" (i.e. where he wont pick up the right lead to save his life), he wasn't picking it up again. My trainer commented that to the left I'm really good at pushing him into the lope, to the right, I don't really "push". So, keeping the idea of pushing into mind, I used my heel to really push him into it - viola - right lead.
By this point my trainer commented that "that horse is really coming together, it's all starting to fall into place and you can really see you both working it out" - WOO-HOO! That is a pretty great compliment for Mr. and Ms. Crazy. :) I also mentioned that I would like to jump and kind of expected her to do the one-eyebrow "oh yaa?" look, but she said that we need to focus a bit more on steering and then we can forsure start working on some english stuff, and that Jingle will make a really great "All-around" horse, so he should know everything - english and jumping included!. Yaaaaaa.
So, all in all, REALLY good lesson. I was super impressed with my boy. People often ask me why I chose him to be my horse, and the fact is that every once and awhile we just fit perfectly together. Honestly, every once and awhile, we fit together like perfect puzzle pieces, and it is awesome, and wicked. Last night was one of those rides. However, those rides can be rare for us, and sometimes I forget how it feels when we work really well together. I also think Jingle is not a horse that does well with time off, this week I was with him Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and each day he did better and better. I'm going to really make an effort to try to ride more consistently, and close together day-wise, and then give him a couple days off in a row, and see if it makes a mental difference for the big man.
For Next Time: Steering, Steering & More Steering!