Time: 1.5 hr
Ride: I got out of a midterm early and headed down to the barn in beeeeautiful 17 degree weather! in April! No complaints here my friends. When I got there, my trainer had just arrived aswell, and I asked her if I could sneak into lessons and she said yes. So I hung around and waited for Jingle-Pants to come in from his turn out. He hates when I do that. He runs in with the rest of his pals, all amped up for some grain time and wabam! Here I am with his halter! He is never impressed with me.
Our lesson was good, Jingle is figuring out the whole "cadence and flow" idea and is starting to really maintain balance and steadiness at a jog and a trot. He's even starting to stretch out and really find his own collection and contact, and I like that he's able to find it naturally. On the lunge line he'll stay round and collected even longer, so it's just a matter of time before we can start working on some higher levels of collection now that he's figured out he has an abdomen. Horse, you are so smart.
From the warm-up my my trainer we worked on some rollbacks, I need to practice more leg and getting him to really snap around, not just turn in a tiny circle.
Then she set up a pole and we worked on sidepassing evenly over it both ways, as in, his front legs were on one side, and his back legs on the other. He's doing very well with his sidepassing, but does get a bit rushier when it comes to sidepassing towards the left. I need to work on getting him slower and more relaxed so that he's actually stepping properly and not just rushing off of my leg.
From there we did some work with the gate. At the moment Jingle's biggest "issue" is that he's not as independent in the hindquarters as i'd like him to be. However, as the sidepassing exercises demonstrated, he can be when he wants to. This is an issue because we'll work on the gate, we'll come through, and when I ask him to pivot his hinquarters left so that I can position myself to close the gate, and then again, to pivot towards the gate so I can shut it easier, he refuses to listen to my leg, and either jumps forward, or back. He was doing really well, and you could tell he was trying, but at one point with the gate almost closed my trainer and I basically commented at the exact same time we just wanted his hind-end a half step closer, but everytime we almost got that from him - he'd rush off.
We worked on the gate a few times more, one time I even just picked up the end of my left rein and dangled it and he swung right over. Oh.. look at that... you're independent when you want to be.
My trainer has me walk him out between doing the gate so that he has a mental break. Then she asked me to lope him, I haven't loped him for her in a long time, but i've been pleasantly impressed with his cadence at the lope as well lately. She was impressed too, and said she was really happy with where we are lope-wise. Yay.
After a mini "Weeeeee we get to go fast toooo!" break, we worked on pivoting on the forehand. When Jingle is pivoting around himself clockwise, he is wonderful. My trainer got me to open up my hand even more and just get him to really swing around. He was doing wicked! We looked down and sure enough there were drag marks in the arena dirt from his pivoting. What's up now world! Counter-clockwise... not as pretty... rushing occured... things to work on. haha.
Finally, we went back to the gate a couple more times, and then my trainer got me to hang out and just lean my weight on the closed gate, I did this, getting him to just stand there for about 4 minutes. Sometimes, mental breaks are good for both horse and human.
Afterwards we cooled off by going for a bit of a amble down the road in the beautiful sun. Good lesson!
For Next Time: Exercises to free up that sticky hindquarter, and, slow him down and get him to "think" more when doing things like sidepassing to the right, pivoting to the right, etc. My poor left sided horse.