It’s been a really great week that started off with a really great Monday lesson! At the beginning Ezhno was really tense, to the point where he had a bit of melt down while I was mounting and I had to hop off to give him a lunge. The Trainer had three pairs of ground poles set up in a triangle shape (one straight line, two diagonals, a lot of bending options—see the picture to the left) and she had us warm up over them with a lot of curves, circles, and bending lines to engage his mind and relax him. It took a long time to work him out of “pogo stick mode”, but once he was soft and consistent we started working in the canter—including some very fluid simple lead changes!
Tuesday I decided to ride just like I had on Monday. The arena was empty, so I had a lot of space to do circles, changes of direction, turns on the hind/fore in motion, etc. I made the choice to ride by intuition—no goals, just progress. It didn’t take long for Ezhno to just feel ready to canter, so I started interspersing transitions into our figures and he did AWESOME. Our canter was super focused and controlled and we did more spectacular simple lead changes. He was an A+ horse, so we only ended up riding for ~35 minutes.
On Wednesday we jumped one of the new panels the Show Buddy has been painting (see left again for pics I snagged from Show Buddy’s FB page, lol)! We started the lesson with a walk/trot/canter free flow warm up and then did four minutes of extended trot without irons in honor of the last day of No Stirrups November. It sucked, especially when Ezhno spooked a couple of times at normal barn stuff (HE KNEW, that brat). We started out over the bright pink panel as part of a cross rail, then put it up as a vertical. I trotted him in really slow the first time it was up as a vertical and he got a really good look at it coming in. He hesitated slightly at the base, but I asked for the jump and he gave me some serious effort. I call that a major victory!
Thursday had another big accomplishment in it. I was feeling lazy, so instead of tacking Ez up I put a bareback pad on him instead. I planned on just doing a walk/trot work out, but we got deep into our free flow warm up (circles, serpentines, weaving cones, trot to walk and halt to trot transitions, turn on hind/fore in motion, etc.) and hit another moment where cantering felt right, so we went for it. He gave me an easy transition and a very organized canter. I was so happy that we ended up cantering in both directions, though not for very long (my thighs, ugh!).