I had planned to wait until Thursday for my first lesson in what feels like forever, but after great rides all weekend and watching Jess’s lesson and visiting the horse show… I just couldn’t contain myself. So I scheduled a lesson and joined in on my trainer’s usual Monday IEA lesson.
My goals for the lesson were simple:
1. Get my trainer’s opinion on the new saddle
2. Keep Miles happy and not get into any fights
3. Test out our new group lesson technique of continuous movement
Lofty goals, I know. But Miles has been on sabbatical, and even though he feels great, I don’t think it’s fair to expect too much out of him when we haven’t been working consistently. So I approached the lesson with a laid back attitude and it went great. We spent a lot of time on the flat doing some group “follow the leader” exercises, which went very well. Miles was a gentleman whether he was in the lead or at the back of the herd; he shortened his stride when I asked, and lengthened as well.
After that we moved on to some patterns, where we each went individually and did some variation of walk, trot, canter with circles and poles. While the other horses stood in the middle to wait their turn, I made Miles continuously walk around. And we did not stop walking for the entire hour.
But the trick worked! Not once did Miles get upset about having to leave the herd or go back to work. We were able to wait our turn, perform the exercise and wait again. Huzzah! Here’s a short video of one of the “patterns” with a jump at the end:
Not looking too shabby for approx. 6 rides in the last 3 weeks! After that pattern trainer put up a small line of verticals for Miles and I, with the second jump going up to about 2’3″. We went through a few times, the first time I had too much pace, and didn’t half halt early enough. The second time we drifted hard to the outside. The third time was perfect though!
And trainer even loves the saddle. She said it puts my leg a bit farther forward than ideal, but it seems to help my balance and I feel very comfortable. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s not like I’m ever going to show in the Ariat Adult Medal Finals.