Make Up Week
So this is make up lesson week at the farm. Meaning we have a break week in between a few lesson weeks to get make ups done. That way at the end of the session we aren’t stuck trying to cram all the make up’s in.
So I only had three lessons to teach today. I definitely learned from each one so thought I would share!
My 2:30 lesson is one of my regulars. She rode one of the lesson ponies Cash for her lesson today. One thing we have been working on a lot with her is keeping her ankles from rotating and toes turning out. I had her ride without her stirrups for most of the lesson. When her toes turned out I told her to pretend she was going to bump his shoulder with her toe. Oddly enough, the weird description helped her and her toes weren’t turning out nearly as much.
Cash is a very wiggly pony. He is capable of a nice bend but isn’t going to do it unless his rider tells him to. Today since we did most of the lesson without stirrups, it turned out to be a great opportunity to really break down how to ask the horse to bend and what it should feel like. Cash responded with a great bend when his rider gave him the right cues.
All in all it was a really productive lesson.
This lesson is my two right hand girls, Amelia and Maggi. Amelia rides her own horse, Cool and Maggi rides one of the barn horses Tic-Toc.
Every week these girls switch back in fourth from dressage lesson to jump lesson. Today was a dressage day.
Today, I had Maggi lengthen her stirrups a whole. It made a big difference in helping her to sit properly in the dressage saddle. I also used the old dressage whip through the elbows and across the back to keep her hands and arms in the right position.
The cool part was that after riding with the whip behind her back for a while she felt what it felt like to sit properly, and was able to continue riding that way for the rest of the lesson. So I would say she had a light bulb moment.
Amelia’s horse cool tends to be excitable and tense on dressage days. Despite the cold and the wind, today he was very good. Sometimes when Amelia is riding him on the flat he flips his head around a lot. I believe this just comes from tension because when he is having a bad day he flips his head a lot and a good day like today he stayed in a lovely frame the whole time. They did some really nice leg yielding in one direction and know what they need to work on in the other direction.
We ended the lesson working on lengthening and shortening canter stride by going over a pole on a 20 meter circle. Both of the girls rocked this and both of the horses looked really good.
The last lesson was Ctina and Ruby. Ruby definitely came out of the barn a bit tense today. She was definitely very testy. We have been working on Ruby’s canter and trot canter transitions. Which is what we had planned on focusing on today.
As all of us horse people know, never count on your plans with your horse. You have to adapt depending on the horse that you get on that day. They might need something totally different.
Today Ruby needed a lot of work on softening to the inside and listening to half halts. At the beginning of the lesson Ctina described the way it felt was that her reins were attached to fence boards and not a bit in a horses mouth. Not good!
What seemed to work things out with Ruby today was we just kept going through her fussiness. Ctina never raised her energy level higher than Ruby. She was just consistent in her cues and with time Ruby started to listen better.
I think the biggest thing that happened in this lesson was that Ctina said that she never felt frustrated or emotional about the bad moments. She was able to stay focused and just think about riding her through her bad moments.
This small thing can make such a huge difference. The more frustrated or emotional you get with a horse, the more tense their body gets. Then it becomes a cycle horse gives rider tension, rider gives more tension back, repeat. Learning to not let this happen is a big deal. It is hard! The reason why the lesson ended on a good note with Ruby today even though she definitely didn’t come out looking to cooperate was because luckily that cycle of negative energy and tension never got a change to get started!
So that was my barn day!
What Day Is It?
It is Martin Luther King Day, you probably already know that!
It’s Some Other Important Days Too!
National Michigan Day
National Pekin Duck Day
National Thesaurus Day
National Winnie The Pooh Day