Yesterday morning I had what might have been the best lesson I’ve ever had on Ezhno. It was one of those lessons where everything you’ve been working towards suddenly comes together, and for the first time in the past four months I suddenly felt like my horse’s flatwork has transcended “Green Horse” level and moved towards something… well, solid.
Like most Monday’s, we kicked off our pre-lesson warm up with a nice long lunge to get rid of any lingering weekend crazies. Then I climbed aboard and, after a brief chat with the Trainer, I dropped my irons down two holes (to the hole I usually use in the dressage saddle) so that I’d have more leg.
I knew right off the bat that this was going to be a good lesson because we only did a couple minutes of trot work before I spontaneously cued for the canter—zero anxiety. Usually I’ll spend anywhere from ten to twenty minutes at the walk/trot before I feel comfortable cantering, and even then I tend to overthink the transition out of nerves, but yesterday was different—I felt super confident!
With the extra leg on him, Ezhno dropped right into the bridle at the canter (woo!). Not only that, but he was rating himself off of my seat and really listening to my half halts. He felt like a total rockstar during our warm up. 🙂
In pursuit of my three month goal, the Trainer had a set of five ground poles set up with one stride between each of them (with a goal of raising some of them to canter caveletti by the end of the lesson). They were set to true horse strides (not pony/lazy horse strides), which meant that I couldn’t poke around at my normal performance-horse-esque pace.
We went into our first run over the ground poles kind of sloppy, but Big Horse did a great job of being attentive to my half halts. I schooled him through the pace I wanted (a good working canter, which feels really fast after spending weeks practicing slow and steady), then started giving him a little more leeway to move autonomously. I can carry him through the exercise if I have to, but in general the less coaching I have to do, the better. It didn’t take long for him to get it (in both directions!), so we raised two of the cavaletti up halfway and went through the whole exercise again. Sixty minutes later we were both soaked in sweat, but very satisfied with what we’d accomplished.
Ezhno’s obviously not ready for the A circuit (and I’m not sure that’s something I want to pursue anyways), but I’m ecstatic to have a horse that I feel like has finally moved past the basics and is just… well, ridable. Sorry, I keep trying to think of ways to verbalize how different he’s feeling now compared to when I got him, and my vocabulary is just completely failing me, lol.
We’ll just sum it up like this:
My horse feels very very very awesome and I’m so happy with how far he’s come!