Saturday, after three weeks of not riding due to both Meghan and I having busy schedules, I finally was able to get in the saddle again. The arena I usually ride in near the front gate was flooded after the heavy rain we had Thursday, so I would have to use the higher one often used in times like that. Reno had moved from his usual paddock to one of the small outdoor stalls nearby. It turns out, the living arrangements had been switched about a bit.
While grooming Reno, I noticed two things: he was beginning to shed, and his mane, once very long, had been pulled until only a few inches was remaining. After grooming and tacking him, I led him to the large steps I had used to help me mount before my first few lessons since the second arena only had a vetry short mounting block. Then, I rode him up a slight incline to second arena. Meghan warned me that this arena is often windy, so even Reno, a usually calm and steady horse, could be a bit frisky. Then I entered the arena.
Several other horses, a large bay and a pony, I think, were also working in the same arena. Meghan instructed me to ride in a circle around to poles, set side by side, and warm up with some walk-halt transitions. After warming up with several loops around the circle, I began to trot. Meghan said that she was impressed at how well I was doing after nearly a month off, which made me beam.
This time, I worked a lot at getting a feel for the horse. When I felt he was resisting, I would apply more rein and leg, when he was moving at a pace I was comfortable with, as well as circling in the direction I wanted without any resistance, I would release the pressure, rewarding him. As always, I worked on making sure my equitation was correct. A few times I would look down or make another mistake, and would tilt a bit forwards. If Reno lowered his head, a bad habit of his, I would nearly fall over onto his neck. Well, at least he doesn't buck like Ginger sometimes does. I probably would have fallen off if that happened.
Anyways, after trotting a circle to the left for a couple minutes, I slowed the the walk and changed directions. I walked around the circle several times, giving both Reno and I a break, then picked up the trot again. I worked on this for the bulk of the lesson, changing directions several times, then Meghan said she would put me on the lungeline so I could canter a bit. I would still control whether he walked, trotted, or cantered, but Meghan would use the lungeline so she could steer him.
I brought him to the corner, giving us two walls to use, then Meghan hooked the lungeline to his bridle and I began to trot. After going around the circle several times, I did a few strides of canter. Meghan removed the lungeline and hooked it on the other side of the bridle so I could change directions, then I circled and trotted and cantered some more.
Afterwards, Meghan removed the lungeline and I began the cool down on the same circle I had started on. We wanted to make sure Reno wasn't energetic and ready to canter so he didn't think that after he cantered, he would be done with his workout. His trot was more bouncy and energetic than usual, and he threw in a canter stride here and there, but by decreasing the size of the circle, I finally calmed him down. Then I rode around the entire arena once to cool him down completely, dismounted, and led him back to the barn. I gave him lots of pats because he was good boy a returned him to his new paddock after untacking him and grooming him.
It was a great and fun lesson. I'll have another lesson next week, but after that I'm not sure, because show season is just beginning, meaning a hectic schedule for Meghan. Hopefully we'll be able to work things out.
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