When I arrived at the ranch today, there was a lot of going on, with one Pony Club group leaving and another still training. Several men in tractors were working on the roof of the outdoor stalls near Reno's paddock to make room for two horses that Meghan will soon begin training.
We had a little mix up with the time because I totally forget that my lesson would be at 2:00 that day, not noon as it usually is, due to the Pony Club meeting at the same time. Another girl was having her first lesson at 1:00, so I wouldn't have time to do the lesson at noon. We decided that I could come back at 2:00 so I would have plenty of time to have my lesson.
Despite having a lesson not long before mine, Reno was very energetic. He trotted quickly, and even began to canter, so Meghan decided I should ride him in circles to calm him down a bit. I trotted him in a fairly tight circle around a jump(the Pony Club was doing jumping, so the dressage letters had been removed) and slowly worked my into a wider circle covering half of the arena. Along the way, he would increase his speed and canter some more(three or four strides at a time!).
Part of the reason I was having the problem is that I wasn't holding the reins tight enough, so they would loosen and he would speed up. Once I focused on not letting the reins slip between my fingers, things were much better. I rode to the other end of the arena and did the circle exercise there, starting small and working my way up to a larger circle.
After trotting the circles, I rode around the barn to cool down, untacking and grooming Reno, and even brushing his mane.
The challenge Reno provided in this lesson has increased my riding skills more than a ride on him when he is being calm and easily controlled. It is true that every rider needs a challenging ride when the horse isn't being 100% cooperative. It makes you a better rider, which is what all of us are striving for.