Pre-cursor in which I ramble at you guys: I spent four days in Sin City for my birthday, and although I had fun, I was glad to be home. I arrived home Monday at 3 am, and Monday night I was out at the barn after a long day of sleeping, ready to ride in my lesson. I got there early, and got talking to the lady that works at the barn, and Jingle put his head out of his stall and rested it on my shoulder as I talked to her. Awwwh.. ponyboy, did you miss me? It was pretty cute.
When I was grooming him, he was acting pretty chill and relaxed. I took his braids out and went to spray him with mane detangler. Jingle doesn't exactly love spray bottles, but lately I've been spraying him and he's been fine - just gives the bottle one big eyed look, and then is done. He was much the same, until I went to brush out his forelock... he took a couple big steps back and I thought for sure he was about to pull. My heart must of stopped. My trainer yelled for me to get behind him, because I was going to motion him forward from his head, and she told me that if he came forward he could come on top of me. Well... you guys know that I know that all too well, since he has come on top of me before. However, he also is known to pull so big and hard, and unrelenting, that there was no way in hell I was getting behind him. So I was a bit in shock, and then, all of a sudden, he took a step forward, I gave him a scratch on the face, and I resumed brushing - he was totally fine. He's a goof, i'm sure he was thinking about the spray bottle when all of a sudden the brush appeared and spooked him, but... he didn't pull. This is the first time in months he's even offered to pull, and the fact that he started and then decided against it, shows a lot about how much he's really grown and matured this last year.
Time: 1.5 hr.
Ride: Our lesson was really good! I've been focusing on my position at a posting trot, trying to stay a lot quieter, and attempting to slow down my posting, and it's really seeming to work on also slowing zoom-master J down aswell. The only thing is that lately his trot is becoming so much more fluid and relaxed, but it's almost as if he traded that in for his once-really nice, slow jog, which has all but dissapeared. The whole "focus on your body language" thing is really working for me and the big boy.
Our warm-up was honestly, stunningly beautiful, I kept thinking "holy crap, where is demonpony hiding, and when is he going to start breathing fire?" My trainer was even in shock at how relaxed and fluid he was, she told me that perhaps I should always go on vacation, and also joked that she had given Jingle a slight labatomy while I was away. Hahaha, poor Jingle-horse, he always gets subjected to these types of jokes.
We moved into the lope and Jingle was doing really well, now that he has the stamina and the strength to lope his leads, and is moving off my leg way more effectively, I've started to really check him back and get him to slow down and not zoom around as much. I have to really read him, and check accordingly, every once and awhile i'll ask him for too much and he'll transition down into a walk, and so it's a push and pull game to get him to slow down, but not stop, on me. He's also starting to to be able to lope the rail like a sane horse, and not a crazy-adrenaline filled "MAHM LOOK HOW FAR AND FAST I CAN GO IN A STRAIGHT LINE", good boy ponyboy.
He also is starting to nail his right lead and my trainer told me she's confident I can work on his right lead now by myself as well. Awesome.
Finally, she set up a little cavaletti, and had us trotting the rail and then calmly going over the cavaletti and continuing at a posting trot. Jingle wanted to drift from the rail, and speed up once he landed, so she told me to really hold him with the inside rein, keep my leg on him and just tell him "Jog" over the cavaletti. After a couple time he popped over it, nice and straight, and landed and jogged off nice and calm.
Overall, really good lesson. People keep asking me how he's doing, and I almost fear i'll jinx it by gushing over how awesome he's been the last three times i've taken a lesson, but it's true - he's doing so well, and he's maturing and figuring things out so rapidly it hurts MY brain to watch his brain at work. I'm very proud of ponyboy.
For Next Time: Where did our jog go? It's somewhere... we just gotta find it again.