It’s been a week of great rides, but before we start here’s an update on the Donatello: after a few conditioning sessions and a couple of weeks of regular wear, I’d call them pretty well broken in at this point. They’ve dropped around my ankles and, with the added support of the cheap inserts I have in the heel of them, have become a pretty comfortable boot. I also ordered a pair of Super Comfort Stirrup Pads!
Monday was very encouraging. Belle has gotten consistent with her framing at the walk and the trot, and I only have to remind her semi-frequently at the canter. We did a lot of transition work (walk to trot, walk to canter, canter to halt, halt to canter, trot to canter, canter to trot, etc., etc.) and made a lot of improvements on our rein back. We ended with some serpentines and a little bit of lateral movement, too.
Tuesday I worked at the canter on our bad side (both of us are stiff when we’re on the right lead). I picked a couple of fights with The Pony about framing up at the halt, which she didn’t particularly enjoy. We focused on more of our laterals (sidepass, turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand, leg yield). I also did serpentines (I love serpentines!) and a few minutes of posting trot without irons.
Wednesday was our flat lesson. I wanted to work on our circles, so we started at the walk with The Trainer introducing the key concept of riding a horse from the back forward. My goal was to engage Belle’s hindquarters, lift her belly, bend her barrel around my inside leg, get her to soften through the shoulder, and then encourage flexion through the neck and the throatlatch. We made progress, but working on something as simple (yet challenging) as a circle always reminds me that there’s a lot more to learn!
THURSDAY WAS JUMP DAY. The Trainer set up some gymnastics at 18″ to 2’0″ for The Show Buddy and I. We added in my first bounce and The Trainer coached me to keep my eyes up and have a more exaggerated release. We had one small refusal (we weren’t ready for the next jump), but then circled back and aced the grid. At one point I even did most of the grid without one of my irons.
What to Expect Next Week:
The search for a horse of my own is starting up! In the mean time, I’ll be working on building up some thigh strength (cantering on the right lead, posting trot without irons, work without irons in general) and improving The Pony’s circles. I also want to improve my riding endurance, which means I should be doing a lot more at the canter in my half seat and my two point position…