A super lesson!

I admit, the horses have been getting short shrift due to the time I’ve had to spend wearing my ‘general contractor/chief painter/designer/purchasing agent/financier for the condo remodel project.

But when I do have time to ride, I am much more inclined to ride Fling than the two kiddos. Several reasons – it’s much more fun to ride a horse that’s further along, and, I guess my most pressing goal for the moment is getting Fling confirmed at third level. I wanted to try and show her again this year in the ever-frustrating quest for the Bronze medal, but between her being off for six weeks due to idiot replacement farrier’s “damage” and other things (condo!) in my life interfering, I’ve come to accept the fact it’s not going to happen this year.

But, she is still my favorite horse to ride.

I finally had another lesson on her yesterday. I’ve cancelled several because I didn’t feel I could take time away from landlord duties. Since our last lesson, I have felt that Fling had improved in her self-carriage and that I’d gotten better at expecting more from her in the way of ‘fancier’ gaits. I was anxious to see if Marie saw what I thought I felt. The day did not start our auspiciously – Mike had taken his horses off to ride them on the beach when I went to get Fling and they were all wound up. they all ran like idiots for probably ten minutes. By the time I caught her to take her to my lesson (about a 45-minute ride away) Fling was dripping wet and blowing like a freight train. I hosed her as long as I could without being late and loaded her in the trailer and left.  She was a bit fussy and just a tad braced when I got on her at Marie’s – not her usual state at home, or even in lessons. I think she STARTED OUT tired. She was already sweaty when I got on her, but she got NO sympathy from ME! đŸ˜‰  One of her ongoing issues is leaning on my left leg. It’s been an issue from, literally, when she was first started under saddle. It sort of waxes and wanes in its degree – and I suspected that it was one of the reasons our half pass to the left and our canter to the left are not as good as the work to the right. And I’ve gotten so USED to feeling it, that sometimes I _don’t_ feel it. It’s just one of the one million and one things you have to think about when you’re training a horse!

Fling was very good – since she is so short backed, suppling her back/ribcage so she can bend more easily is almost always job #1. We did a lot of shoulder-in to renvers (the dreaded renvers from second level I thought I could KISS GOODBYE!) and also much haunches in, on straight lines and circles. We did those at walk and trot and canter. And we did shoulder-in to half pass and back to shoulder in. Then we cantered and did SI in canter and haunches in at canter. And then we did flying changes! She GOT her changes – not always exactly clean – Marie said she was one stride late behind a few times – BUT, we GOT the changes. It is always harder to get them away from home, so it’s good to practice it somewhere else. By the end, when we did them on centerline, after turning off the long side, they were good and clean. And we only had one huge ‘bucky” change. I partly own the responsibility for that – I think I really overcued her. Part of the changes now, depends on me TRUSTING her to do them when I ask with a ‘normal’ aid and not an exaggerated one. Fling was, again, dripping wet and blowing like crazy by the time we finished. I spent some time hosing her down before I put her back in the trailer to take home. I was very happy – a good lesson and we’re definitely making progress. Next time I take a lesson on her, I will put her in the double and we’ll see what sort of difference that makes. I have not ridden her in the double for a long time. I wanted to make sure it did not become a crutch (since the collected work and especially half pass is usually easier with the double.)  I knew that no matter HOW hard it was, Fling HAD to learn to listen to me, and respond to my aids from the SNAFFLE first. 

Next up – Faeryn goes to a strange place next Sunday to show first level at a schooling show. She has not been to a show since May. I hope the new place is not too scary for her. She needs to get at least one really good score at this show. And she will have to go into the arena ‘cold’ since it’s too far for me to haul her there the day before to get acclimated.

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