I lunged her, then started by working on a trot circle to right after I had mounted. Immediately, I began asking for roundness and an inside flexion. My hands were much more steady than usual, and I was able to keep her consistently round, rather than round or only a few strides, which is amazing. To prepare for an exercise I would do later, I worked through a lot of transitions. I tried to keep her round through the transitions. It is very difficult, because while riding a transition I had to be actively flexing and I had to stop her from leaning on my hands. This was most difficult in the trot-walk transitions. Downward transitions require just the right amount of leg so that the horse remains round.
|Lucky in her western gear|
Lucky leaned a lot during the trot-walk transition, so I needed to use the right combination of leg(to keep her round and get her off my hands) and seat(to slow her). Often, I needed to give her a kick during the transition to tell her, "Don't lean on my hands." Then I would slow her. This often resulted in a few dribbling jog strides into the walk, but Laura said that it was more important at this point that Lucky stays round through the transition. After some work, I was able to consistently keep her round through the trot-walk transition. I had taught her that I expect her to stay round.
Roundness through the walk-trot transition came later. I didn't have to deal with leaning in the upward transition, but I still had to flex her while she made the transition. Finally, I got it. I now have a feel of what it feels like to flex through the transition to keep Lucky round. It certainly is a step forward in my progress as a rider.
|After her bath|
Next, I did a very challenging exercise: a serpentine with a few walk strides between each change of direction. This may not sound very difficult, but it is because it takes a lot of preparation and thought. I had difficultly getting a sharp trot-walk transition. Either Lucky would walk only after passing centerline(I wanted her to walk over) or she would jog really slowly and never walk. I needed to ask very early for the walk, as soon as I rounded the bend of the circle and began making a one toward centerline. Most if the exercise went by with me struggling to get it right. I also needed to ask for a more bold trot to show more difference between between the walk and the trot. At last, all the hard work and focus paid off. I had several real well-timed walk transitions, and a big trot. Laura decided to end on this good note, because both Lucky and I had done very well. I cooled her down outside of the arena.
What went well:
- Consistently round
- Steady hands
- Roundness through transitions