... I didn't have any cookies left after I put Jingle away, and he proceeded to stick his mouth against the bars and do this every time I touched his lips. It made me die laughing, he looks absolutely insane.
Ride: Perhaps I'm posting so much lately because I don't have the time to actually go out and see my horse? Sigh... just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... This meant that I hadn't seen my boy since my last lesson a week earlier. He seemed quite content with that fact. Got to the barn and discovered he had broken one of the snaps on the front of his blanket clear off... sigh.... must.remember.to.buy.new.snap. Other than that he seemed happy, healthy and alive, so that is all that matters isn't it! haha
I was a little nervous that he would be a big flingy ball of energy since he'd had a whole week off. Our warm up was a little "flingy", he was feeling good, and wanted to show me how fast he could trot. "Mahm, stop slowing down your posting - we got places to beeeeeeee, keep up would ya!" I just kept in mind my golden word for the month "RELEASE", and kept firmly reminding him "Hey Mr.FastPants, it's time for some refinement", and it seemed to work. It's funny to look back on my riding (as i've been doing with the equestrian challenge i'm doing on this blog), I've always had an issue with "babying" horses when I should be firmer with them. With Jingle, I think a lot of the time, my babying became me holding pressure, but not enough pressure to do something, but still nagging him, and then never truly giving him any release. Now, I'm really focusing on direct and clear cues; "lope this circle", in the past when he would speed up and I could feel him about to run amuck I would just grab my reins really tight, and just continue to hold, and of course... nothing would happen, we both would just turn to mush. Me = sad, why doesn't my horse love me and why doesn't he listen to me?.... Jingle = Why doesn't my owner love me, and why is she not communicating with me?... nobody wins. Now, if he starts to think about running off I firmly grab my rein, tip his nose back in and remind him that we're going this way, if he doesn't listen, it happens again, quickly, and then a release, and he's started to really figure it out. Yay for clearer communication between the two of us.
We worked on our loping, he managed to lope his right lead a couple times, so there's some progress, and then we worked on loping his left lead over some ground poles. They were set up so that I loped a semi circle and then would come off the rail, lope over two poles, and then back onto the rail. At first Jingle was cutting off the rail too soon, and I was having a hard time trying to move him back over, before then allowing him to move back off. A couple times we missed the poles all-together! haha, however, we got it together and had some really nice circles, with him straightening out nicely over the poles, and moving on and off the rail nicely. I just had to really utilize my left rein and really get him to move over, and then give him a bit of a release before asking him to move off again.
My trainer got me to also work on my body language, he was really rushing around a couple times at the lope, and she asked me just to sit deep, and try to focus on getting him to slown down. Apparently it worked pretty well because she exclaimed, "If only I had a video of you riding when you first came [in February] to compare to now!", I'm going to take that one as a compliment! :)
For Next Time: Clear Communication & starting to refine that wonderful left lead