I started practicing the leg yields at the trot, heading up centerline every time I reached A or C. At first I began heading left in the dressage arena. When I reached A, I turned up centerline and tried pushing Chester over to B. Then at C I again went up centerline and pushed him over to E, and so on. I had trouble doing this at first. Chester mostly tried to do a diagonal, not a leg yield, so Meghan told me to slow him down with some half halts when I was leg yielding.
After trying quite a few times in each direction without a real leg yield, Meghan suggested trying the same thing at a walk. She said to not let Chester go forward unless he went sideways and to increase my leg aid to push him over. Meghan helped me a couple times by pushing over. Finally, when I tried on my own, I got Chester to do a leg yield to the right. To reward Chester, I changed the subject and began trotting him around the dressage arena.
|Trying to do a leg yield|
After that, I did more canter work, heading both directions all the way around the dressage arena. I'm getting much more confident at the canter, which is good, but I still need to work on controlling Chester when cantering straight; his canter is pretty fast. Additionally, I need to find my rhythm at the canter and work on letting my hips swing with the motion. All that will come with more practice. Anica had joined the lesson again, so she showed me how to ride the canter. Now I have a visual so I can do it better.
|Cantering left lead|
Next, Anica and I both did jumping again. I approached the cross rail a slow trot like last time, this time landing in the canter left and slowing back to the trot as I neared the jump again. I tried to keep my eyes up, though I couple times I glanced at the jump as I approached it. The jumps turn out better if I keep my eyes up, which of course is why I'm told that.
|Jumping. I behind me is another cross rail I had jumped.|
After jumping several jumps, I changed directions. This time I would be riding toward the gate. the challenge with this is that horses tend to go faster as they near the gate. Luckily, I didn't seem to have a problem.While I jumped I worked on putting my hands forward so I didn't yank chester in the mouth. There were several times that went very smoothly: my hands were forward, my eyes were up, my heels down, and I didn't slam into Chester back as he landed. I didn't even grab his mane for balance. I had a lot of fun.
|Landing from the cross rail.|
I ended by jumping to cross rails placed close enough together that Chester would land then jump the next one. When I went fairly well over the two jumps, I ended the lesson on that good note and cooled Chester out with Anica and her horse, Roxie. I enjoy jumping. It's especially good that Chester doesn't over-jump and clear the jump with feet to spare as some horses may do. That way it's easier for me to find my balance while I learn to jump. The lesson was fun and successful.